Six Fundamentals for Great Conversations

great conversationsWhat is one of the biggest challenges each of us has in our lives? It is the ability to hear and be heard in a conversation. Done right, it can lead to great relationships and done poorly it can cause a relationship to blow up when you least expect it.

Here are six fundamentals to enable great conversations whether in business or in our personal lives.

Active Listening

Active listening means that we are not talking. More importantly, it means that we are not thinking about what we are going to say while the other person is talking to us. We are interpreting and contemplating what they are saying.


Be as clear as you can be. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and consider their experiences and their background to put the message in their terms. Also, ask questions of the other person to clarify what they are saying.


If we want to get our message across to our team or our family we often need to say it and say it again and then say it again multiple times. Each person brings his or her own perspectives and biases into the situation. Also, each person has other issues they are working on in their life other than the topic you may be addressing so communicate and communicate again and again if it is important. Do not assume people understand.

Ask Receiver to Repeat

Here, we want to ask the receiver to repeat back what we said so we know they understood our message. I cannot tell you how many times I have personally thought that I communicated my message clearly and a few hours later I realized that my words were interpreted differently than the way I meant them.

Maintain Eye Contact

This is subtle. However, it allows us to pick up non-verbal cues. At the same time, we are saying to the other person that they are very important to us. It is incredible how often eye contact will help us get through to the other person and disarm any tension because they will feel genuinely listened to in the conversation.

Be Open Minded

Each person has his or her own biases and points of view. We need to listen to what the other person is saying, ask questions, and allow their message to sink in so they will feel listened to.

Conversations are a great way to build lasting relationships.  What other ideas have worked for you in building great conversations with people?