10 ways to engage in a meaningful conversation
1. Do not be in the habit of fighting for your point of view and trivializing what your partner is trying to convey. Make him or her feel important and valued by choosing to step into their shoes to understand where they are coming from.
2. Make it a habit to ask thought-provoking and mature questions that do not seek a one word answer. Actively engage with one another.
3. Don’t get too worked up with what you are saying to the extent of missing what your partner is trying to convey. Seeking to understand, rather than trying to be understood, solves half the problem.
4. Learn to attack the issues at hand without attacking the person. When the issues become the person, we miss the point of the discussion and turn what would have been a productive engagement into a bitter fight for supremacy.
5. Do not strive to be Mr/Mrs/Ms Right all the time. Blowing your own trumpet all the time does nothing but communicate selfishness. Be willing to take the blame. No one is an angel. No one is perfect.
6. Don’t equate your knowledge, experience and understanding with that of others. Great communicators make it a point to step down to the level of those they are communicating with without being prejudiced against them.
7. Look for areas of common understanding before engaging in the issues that seem to divide you. Uniting around factors that both of you agree on forms the much need foundation on which to stand as you navigate the tougher issues.
8. Avoid dwelling on negativity in your conversation. Nothing is worse than comments filled with negativity. Engaging in negativity only drags the conversation backwards.
9. When your partner chooses to take the negativity path, don’t let their negative talk destroy your inner peace and ability to think straight.
Making the choice to be patient can confront negativity without making you become negative.
10. Create a positive conversational environment that shows respect to others even when they do not deserve it. Do not make it a one-man show where your partner feels talked at and interrogated.