How to Transform Your Life? Transform Your Conversations
Conversation is more than an exchange of thoughts and information, it’s an opportunity to transform your world. In this article, Trigger Conversation’s Founder and Director of the Transformational Conversations Programme, Georgie Nightingall, shares three ways you can transform your conversations today.
The Time for Change is Now.
However clichéd it is, the turning of the New Year is like the turning of a new chapter – only this story is yours.
And as this New Year swept in with fresh possibility, I wonder what great plans you dreamed up for the next 12 months?
Perhaps for you 2019 is filed with ambitions to get your voice heard at work. Maybe it’s to step out of your comfort zone in order to create the life you crave. Possibly you want to be a more empathetic leader, or find a new job. Or maybe, you want to reconnect with a family member, find a new tribe or discover real, authentic connection in your relationships.
Whatever your intention, I know you can fulfill it.
The question is how.
Conversation is the Tool for Change – you just don’t know it, yet.
Often when we want to change a situation we turn inwards, using tools like mindfulness, inspirational TED talks or reflection exercises to give us the confidence to ride the wave of change.
However what we forget is that we have the power to collaboratively change it.
How? Through the power of conversation.
That’s because conversation is not just an exchange of information and thought, but an opportunity to transform us. When you engage another in conversation you create a space to experiment with our thoughts, discover new possibilities or get access to different perspectives. Or, as Theodore Zeldin rightly suggests, conversation doesn’t “just reshuffle the cards, it creates new cards.”
For example, if I were searching for a new job I could do two things: research and apply for jobs from my computer and wait till I get a response, or I could engineer serendipity even before I’ve started looking by constantly meeting and connecting with different people. Of course, the latter option can seem daunting, the very bones of networking reek of transaction and agendas …but not if you had the tools to turn any conversation into an opportunity.
Conversation can also create new cards when you’re feeling lost or unheard. By reaching out with your words to a fellow human you open a door to connection. You become able to untangle your thoughts, able to discover that someone understands how it feels or even find a new solution.
Ultimately, it’s through mastering conversation that you find the spaces where you belong and grow.
How to Transform Your Conversations
So, how can you have transformational conversations?
Georgie Nightingall, Trigger Conversations Founder and Director of the Transformational Conversations Programme, shares her top three tips to change your conversations today.
1. Skip the Small Talk
When staff at Pret ask me how I am, I often tell them exactly how I feel in that moment. Usually it goes along the lines of “7.5 / 10”, “caffeine-deprived and needy” or “glorious because I’m on my way to a course and I can’t wait to learn!”.
They’re often surprised, but also quite curious. That’s because I’ve done three things. Firstly I’ve given them an offer to ask me about, “Why 7.5 / 10?”. Secondly I’ve broken the monotonous small talk script. And yes, lastly, I’ve been a bit weird. They engage with it because it’s playful, real and human.
The truth is, people often engage in small talk because it’s expected, not because they care. However, if you want to have more transformational, meaningful conversations then it’s time to shake the energy up and make people feel alive by breaking the script.
Challenge: Create an Offer By Saying Something Different
The next time you are asked a small talk question you can navigate the conversation to something more meaningful or exciting by giving an offer.
In other words, reply in a way that invites your fellow human to respond without having to dig into their ‘book of conversation starters’.
The best offers are genuine and often include a tangent, which is a curiosity for the other person to wonder aloud about. For example, you could respond to “what do you do?” by firstly saying what you do, but secondly explaining why you do what you do or what problem you are solving.
Extra hint: there is no correct answer in a conversation!
2. Be Curious
Becoming curious is the most transformational habit you can develop. It’s a mind-set, a fuel that drives exploration and discovery. And it is the cleanest fuel out there because it’s not polluted with a specific agenda. It allows conversations to be organic, unconstrained and free of assumption or judgment.
Being curious is a two-step process: first you notice, then you wonder. When you harness this tool you can begin to uncover meaning by turning your wonderings into a – judgment-free - question or statement.
What does that mean? How does that feel? Why does that happen? What might happen if X occurred?
This is because every moment in time, whatever is happening within it, is an expression of the deeper patterns present in the rest of your life. When you begin to notice these patterns you can then ask questions that reveal something deeper, more meaningful.
Challenge: Develop Empathetic Curiosity
When someone shares something with you, be curious about what that certain word means to them. Put to the side your interpretation of their meaning or interpretation of the events and instead ask them to say more, to explain what X means or what was it like to experience Y.
3. Go Deep By Sharing First
Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like assumptions are being made, people aren’t listening and not being curious? Or perhaps, you’ve wanted to have a deeper conversation, but have felt unsure about what to ask next?
The good news? Going deep in conversation is actually easier than you think. You simply need to make your fellow human feel safe and comfortable to share their real self, and you do this by taking off your own mask and revealing something more personal about yourself.
This is because when you share your thoughts and feelings, you invite your fellow human to join you in a moment of authenticity. It’s the power of reciprocity: if you show me yours, I’ll show you mine!
Don’t forget though, that one of the key tools to going deep in conversation is listening. You can listen for words, values, emotions, what is not being said or their unique way of seeing the world.
Challenge: Ask Questions and Share Yourself
Try going deep slowly by asking questions about what certain concepts or words mean to your fellow human: what their experiences are, a fact about themselves or a hypothetical world they’d like to exist in.
But remember, as you ask questions continue to share parts of yourself that let them know it’s safe to share, and not an interview!
There is No Magic Pill. You are the Pill.
There you have it - three powerfully simple tools to start to transform your conversations with others and open yourself to opportunity.
But the truth is, only you can decide to rise to it.
So the question remains - will you take the challenge and start to transform your conversations today?
If you’d like to learn more about how we can support and provide you with the tools to transform your conversations, then click for info on our 8-week Transformational Conversations Programme, beginning in February this year.
About the Transformational Conversations Programme
As a team of Conversation and Life Coaches we have designed an 8-week programme that will teach you the art of conversation, connection and curiosity.
From our Conversational Coaches you will gain the tools to authentically have the conversations you crave with family, friends, colleagues or strangers, thereby enabling you to create deeper connection, discover unexpected opportunity or become never unforgettable.
Supported by our Life Coaches, you will look inside to identify and understand the habits and barriers preventing you from connecting more deeply with others and gain the confidence to take greater risks in your conversations.