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Conversations Matter

Yesterday, for a while Monic and I sat in conversation together.
Conversation: “a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.”
In our conversations, we notice how we express our ideas and yet regularly we still misunderstand one another’s meaning.
Frequently, we repeat ourselves, ask questions, slow down and clarify, 𝒃𝒆𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒆 we fully understand.
My coaching career has taught me that when we concentrate fully on a conversation, consider the content, and demonstrate an understanding of the message, the person on the other side always feels valued.
Have you experienced that?
Recently in our missionary zone conferences, we learned how to approach dialogue from a point of engagement and connection that leads to more creative problem-solving, perspective and ultimately stronger relationships.
We learned that conversations evoke emotions, they form a bond between you and others, and can make or break any first impression.
After all, conversations are the lifeblood of all relationships – right?

A Conversation

I love this painting “A Conversation with the Master” by Nathan Florence.
The painting depicts a woman walking alongside Jesus, in a purposeful conversation.
She is doing the lion’s share of the talking, while he is listening thoughtfully.
She is animated about something, whilst his compassion unruffles any undue concern.
Perhaps they have wandered for a while in the beautiful countryside.
His focus is completely on her.
He does not heal her with his touch.
Rather, He is listening deeply and accompanying her on their journey together.
He walked, talked, listened, smiled, encouraged, and made time for her.
Listening, guided by love, is one of the greatest gifts we can give one another.
Perhaps we can all be a bit more like Jesus and listen more deeply to one another.
In your next conversation, take some time to find the most authentic words to explain your thoughts and feelings, slow down and be a little more vulnerable.
I hope that we can all enjoy deep and meaningful conversations with one another.
What did it feel like when you last had a really good conversation?

Building Rapport

Recently I was asked – “How do you build rapport?”
Rapport – “a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy – a friendly, harmonious relationship.”
I see rapport as being the sense of connection that I may have with someone.
When you have good rapport it’s like being in sync with someone, and are mutually interested in each other. Often you’ll discover that you have similar feelings and emotions too.
It is also about effective communication and building a healthy camaraderie.
Building rapport is all about establishing that connection and the process of creating deeper relationships.

Top Tips

Firstly, start with yourself!
You really need to know and understand your truest self. Who are you, what are your core values, what are your interests and hobbies, how do you go about getting things done? Importantly – do not pretend to be someone you’re not!
Secondly, empathy is key.
What is empathy? It’s understanding how others feel and being compassionate toward them. The key part to empathy is being genuinely curious. Don’t just stand in another person’s shoes, go, and actually take a walk in them!
Thirdly, ask questions.
Some variation of “tell me about yourself” is often a great way to start a conversation. Asking questions can remove uncomfortable small talk and help you get into more meaningful conversations.
Fourthly, listen!
Active listening means giving your full attention to someone who is speaking. If someone feels like you are hearing them, they will likely listen to you in return, which can establish a good relationship and build great rapport.
Fifthly, take time to understand.
When you take the time to really understand someone, you’ll begin to be able to see the world from the other person’s perspective. It helps to find some common ground and create some shared experiences together.
I know that building great rapport will improve your relationships and will make you a better communicator.
What can you do to build rapport?