Talk not Tech - Remember how to enjoy the Conversation.

Posted by martin.parnell |

In her book The Art of Conversation: Or, What to say and When, Catherine Blyth tells us that “Every day we use our mobiles and computers to communicate, but ironically we are losing touch with face-to-face talk”. She reveals the endless possibilities of conversation and shows that when it works it can come close to heaven.

And, to a certain extent, I have to agree.

Every week my wife and I communicate with our three adult children and have great conversations with each of them, albeit on very different topics. Kyle is into sport and he can chat at length about the Calgary Flames, The Blue Jays, Stampeders, Oilers, The British Barclay’s Premier League, Formula One, the list goes on. He can weigh the losses and gains of everything from transfer deals to draft picks.

Calum lives in London, England and keeps us up to date with all that’s going on in the UK, from politics, Art exhibitions, new places to visit, in fact all that’s relevant to living there. This is great for us as we like to know what’s happening “back home”. He is also an avid reader and movie-goer and will give us great recommendations on good books to read and movies to watch.

Kristina, our youngest, is married with three children (the sons are lagging behind a bit in that department, but we live in hope). She is married to someone who works in mining and they live in Ontario. Having worked in that Province myself, as a mining engineer, I’m always interested to hear what’s going on in the industry and about life in general back there. She works and runs a busy household and so always has something to chat about, especially concerning our grandkids.

At home, Sue and I enjoy nothing more than sitting quietly, coffees at hand, poring over the newspaper or listening to something of interest on CBC Radio 1. As well as our regular weekday favourites like The Current, Alberta at Noon and Ideas, having more time at the weekends, we try and make a point of catching Daybreak Alberta, Quirks and Quarks, the Sunday Edition, The House and Writers and Company. Interestingly all of these programs tend to focus around conversations with guests or experts in a particular field. They all provide stimulating content for us to enjoy further conversations on a wide range of topics. Fortunately, for me, my wife is also a great fan of “the beautiful game’ i.e. soccer, and can hold her own when it comes to discussing that particular subject.

With my business, I’m lucky to be able to meet and engage in conversation with people who will often share my passions and goals. But, I also find it just as enjoyable when I meet someone who has an alternative take on things or whose life has taken a completely different path to mine. I love the diversity of topics which one can cover when meeting someone for the first time.

Sometimes it can take some effort to strike up a conversation, particularly when you find yourself in an unfamiliar situation or with people you don’t know. But, going on my own experience, it’s always worth that effort. Everyone has their own story, interests, expertise and it’s surprising what you can learn from just having that conversation. So, let’s put the devices down once in a while and let’s talk!

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