Ever notice how Bill O’Reilly speaks to his guests?
He is patronizing and sarcastic. There is yelling and interrupting.
There is rarely, if ever, a thoughtful discussion on his show.
A good conversation considers all perspectives.
In a meaningful conversation, there is room for doubt and for questions.
People think that if they are resolute and extreme they will be heard. They believe their steadfastness will effectively persuade others.
But I find the opposite to be true. I get bored when people are unwilling to rumble with a variety of thoughts and ideas.
“Extremism is so easy. You’ve got your position, and that’s it. It doesn’t take much thought.” – Clint Eastwood
Curiosity is so much more interesting. But so many of us see a lack of absolute conviction as weakness. It is actually an opportunity for growth.
The problem is so many of us need to be right — in our marriages, with our children and in political dialogues. When we are focused and committed to being right, it inspires others (who also need to be right) to prove us wrong. And so the battle of extreme remarks, in an effort to dominate, control and monopolize, begins.
One of my favorite comments on my blog is:
“Love how you approach controversial topics and somehow diffuse some of the heat… thank you!”
That remark means so much to me because my goal is to open up the conversation.
On any topic!
And “the heat” is distracting.
I look to represent all sides. It’s a deliberate decision to be inclusive.
So what are the best ways to have a meaningful conversation?
1. Listen – people can tell when you care only about your own ideas.
2. Ask Questions – it shows engagement and interest.
3. Authentically Relate – people open up when they feel a genuine connection.
I liked this post a lot. I find it does help to listen and consider the other person’s viewpoints.
Also, it is far better to communicate about tough topics than to hold your anger inside.
And, it is never too late, age wise, to decide to open up on whatever bothers you.
I hear you! Something I heard as a child and still remember today, "we have two ears to listen and one mouth to speak" indicating the importance of listening. And another thing to have in mind when in coversation with another, listening, aside from gathering the facts and information; is also the act of granting the listener dignity. Act of being heard by another.
You hear them and when the listening is inclusive and genuine, we, both parties, know it. Thereby, when experienced like this, it is how genuine connections are made. And as with the distinction you made, being in dialogue is not to win or dominate one’s point of view as much as it is persuade, when relevant another a way at looking at something. A more expansive engagement between oneself and another and when realized, a moment of the sublime. You know the possibility opens up for the "Ah ha" moment!
Corie, again thank you. I hear you!
2 ears, 1 mouth- great!!
Thanks for listening, expanding the conversation and connecting!
Genrally, those that this might apply to, will not see themselves. Having a perspective is something I have always admired.
It’s a good message; for a fairy tale book. The fact remains that the firm and resolute get their way while the vulnerable get left behind and relinquish their stance as they don’t have the conviction to go up against the "resolute and extreme." Whose opinion do you hear on Bill O’Reillys show; his guests? I don’t think so…
Maybe it’s just me but I can’t hear Bill either. I believe he says and does whatever is needed to drown out his guests but that doesn’t make him right. It makes him a bully.
What’s the prize for "being right"? Better to be open to others ideas n opinions. Then, u have a conversation…. Not a lecture. Thnx for ur great insight….
"Resolute and extreme" should not be confused with passion. Be passionate about learning. Listening is a key way we learn.
Great post Corie! I was once asked on a dinner table with others- "In life, do you listen or do you wait to speak?" The people who jumped in almost immediately were the ones who said that they wait to speak! I found that to be so apropos. Its hard to hold conversations when you find that the person you are talking to is distracted and just waiting to get their thoughts in before you have even finished your thought. Maintaining eye contact while engaging with someone is another key too. It’s easier said than done but it shows that you’re really listening.
Side note- I always enjoy chatting with you!
Thank you for sharing…reminds me of a segment ( probably the only portion that stuck with me), from my college’s commencement address:
"…And then there is a unique requirement that you actually have to change your mind when faced with better arguments. Being in a university means never saying “Well, that’s just what I believe,” as if that were sufficient to end the discussion. Just imagine how different the world would be if people entered discussions willing to change their minds in the face of superior arguments and evidence."
I love exploring,questioning and hopefully understandings one’s LOGIC in their beliefs. "Yelling and interrupting," may be super effective in swaying baseless opinions, but hopefully the majority of us won’t misconstrue that vocalization as evidence of logic.