conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Dummy’s Guide to Conversation #9: Say it Out Loud To Get It

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A pastor friend once wondered why the congregation didn’t know this certain fact he had mentioned in a sermon. My friend was under the notion that people listen closely to every word of a sermon. I am convinced people do listen—just not to every word.

I know this because I have taught college students and mistakenly thought that the wide-open eyes and direct eye contact meant they were listening. It took me until my first test to realize how mistaken I was. Direct eye contact is as much an act as appearing to type notes while facebooking friends. Students and all of us easily adopt the outward behaviors that allow us to escape miles away to play on the beach while the person in front persists in boring monologue.

But a conversation is a different environment than a lecture or sermon. Don’t let your conversation partner bore you with abstractions. Challenge them. Question. Ask. This is the very nature of conversation and it fits with how we understand anything: we need to try an idea on for size to sort out whether it fits us or the situation.

Trying an idea on for size looks like talking.

We must turn something over verbally to begin to understand it. It’s just how the will is connected to the brain—through the voicebox. Not exclusively, sometimes we get it without saying it or asking. And sometimes writing a note helps in understanding (that’s often how it works for me). But make peace that people need to respond in one way or another to truly begin to understand something.

This is part of the reason lectures can be so ineffective.


Image Credit: BLU (street artist from Bologna Italy) via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

August 20, 2013 at 5:00 am

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