Meaningful Conversation Is More Important Than Ever During COVID-19
When’s the last time you had a great conversation with a team member? You know the kind where you walked away feeling understood, that your input was appreciated, and that you actually learned something? It is even harder these days now that COVID-19 has turned our world upside down; our ability to engage in meaningful conversations is that much more difficult over a phone call or Zoom. And this is happening when meaningful conversations are more critical than ever for the sake of emotional and mental health.
If you can remember your last great conversation, chances are the person on the other end was actively listening and truly paying attention. Turns out, we all like that feeling of knowing we’ve been heard and understood.
As technology has become more and more prevalent in our communications over the last few months, great conversation is becoming a lost art. This, combined with the increasing need for instant gratification, means communication is becoming stunted – how we connect is becoming stunted.
I recently stumbled upon a TED Talk by Celeste Headlee. Celeste has spent her entire career in Public Radio as an anchor, reporter, producer, and host. She has interviewed thousands of people in all walks of life. In her TED Talk, “Ten Ways to Have a Better Conversation,” she says that great conversation is a balance between talking and listening and somewhere along the way we lost that balance. She provides ways to improve your listening so you don’t have to fake it.
Much of how we communicate comes from genetics and experience. For instance, some folks come across as very gregarious and engaging. In PI speak, they might have a High B (Extraversion). Some folks simply come across as better listeners (usually someone with a higher C (Patience) than B). I know I fall in the category of someone who struggles to pay attention; I recognize that I listen only to preserve the conversation or even the relationship. In my head, as I’m listening to someone, I am already “private rehearsing” my reply. Sometimes, I will even bite the inside of my cheek to make myself really listen instead of jumping ahead.
I’ve recently been facilitating discussions with several teams that were experiencing some type of tension due to increased stress and pressure. These are obviously trying times, and all individuals are feeling unprecedented types and levels of stress which can cause friction between team members. These PI team analytics sessions are meant to lessen some of that friction and stress through personal self-awareness, as well as through awareness of team members’ needs. As a bonus, we even manage to add some strategies for overall team alignment with team goals. These sessions also serve a greater purpose of reassuring employees that management is aware of these added stresses and genuinely wants to help.
Talk to your PI Midlantic Consultant for more information on these sessions. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a team in turmoil; it can be any team within your company that needs to align to a new set of initiatives or processes, or one that just needs to have a stronger understanding of how to better communicate with each other.
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew you were giving the folks in your critical teams the feeling of truly being heard and understood? With our current world, meaningful conversation may be becoming a lost art – but to bring it back, you just need some self-awareness and the right tools. PI can help you get there.
If you’d like to learn even more on becoming a better conversationalist, Celeste is the author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter.