conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Talk as an Economic Tool

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Flesh out your own opportunity11182013-tumblr_mwchl2aTIs1qe6mn3o1_500

Grandad was a salesman. Talk was his tool. Talk and presence. He showed up with people to help them locate a house they could own. I doubt he talked many people into buying because he was careful about the economics of the deal. He dealt in houses long before our recent mortgage troubles. He sold houses back when mortgage interest rates were well over 10%. He depended on people keeping current with payments, and they did, mostly. At Grandad’s funeral more than one person told me how the opportunity to own a home had been out of their reach except for his help (which was cool).

Grandad talked his way through a house with a client, through a friendship, through a cribbage game, through dinner. Talk was his tool for getting stuff done, to the occasional exasperation of his wife and daughters. Talk made stuff happen for Grandad.

I’m gearing up for a couple classes that help college students take their writing out of the classroom and into the workplace and Grandad’s example comes to mind. What had been a rather solitary passion for these students—working out stories, poems and arguments for themselves or some instructor—can be made to have broader use in the world they’ll graduate into. This is my argument: enterprising writers use their writing/thinking/talking skills to serve others and actually find it satisfying. Even illuminating: it turns out that looking out for ways to serve others is also as much a knowledge-producing endeavor as the scouring of personal experience and/or feelings that become grist for a poem or story.

Moving writing from an inward to an outward focus begins with a firm grasp on what they can offer—a sort of inventory of one’s communication skills. And then comes some thinking about how those skills may help push forward an organization’s marketing objectives. And just like Grandad’s conversations, writing itself is the route in and the outcome. But it starts with hearing about a need, and that takes a different kind of dedicated listening.


Image credit: un-gif-dans-ta-guele via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

November 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

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