Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Some Basic Rules For Intelligent Conversation

You cannot have an intelligent conversation with an ignorant, belligerent person.

If a person becomes emotional, their reasoning capability shuts down as does their listening capacity. It is better to remain silent and let them vent. And if appropriate, part company, at least for now.

No-one wins an argument. Instead emotions begin to run high and voices grow loud, as listening stops. It is better to acknowledge what the other person said, thank them for their opinion and change the subject to something both parties can agree to.

Opinions are often based on reinforcement of biases we already have. Rather than consider new information or different points of view, we defend our precious opinions with all the energy we can muster because anything less would imply we might be wrong and that would hurt our egos. It is better to acknowledge what has been said and change the subject.

Discussing controversial matters such as politics, abortion or religion is fine as long as basic rules of civility and respect are understood and honored. But if emotions suddenly take over, tactfully change the subject or part company, at least for now.

A successful conversation is based upon mutual interest in various topics and in each other and it is conducted with civility and respect. Try to understand the other person's perspective and keep an open mind, a smile, and a sense of compassion and humor.

Remember, this is just a conversation and not an event that will change the world.


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