The new lost Art of Conversation

What is a conversation? A week ago I was reading a book listing 100 definitions of a ‘conversation’. I’ve been thinking about many of the responses in that book and how we define conversation. A short definition of ‘conversation’ in the Oxford dictionary is “the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words.” The Wikipedia definition is “a form of interactive, spontaneous communication between two or more people.” Here’s the catch; it goes on to say, “typically, it occurs in spoken communication, as written exchanges are usually not referred to as conversations.”

I decided to take a look at the definition of dialogue. “Conversation between two or more people,” as defined by the Oxford dictionary. And Wikipedia defines dialogue as “a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people.”

In both cbaby-coupleases, they’re defining an interchange between two or more people, typically in-person.

As a trainer and coach focused on building in-person, face-to-face communication, presentation and speaking skills for people, I started to rethink my definition of dialogue and conversation.

The digital world in its own way is redefining conversation and dialogue. Email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Instagram — are a few of the examples where two or more people can exchange ideas with each other either instantly or over a period of time. Let’s call them digital conversations.

Clearly the transfer of information or exchange of ideas is taking place in the digital world. So the question arises, does it make any difference whether somebody is face-to-face in person exchanging ideas or that they are doing it digitally?

Even with emoticons, it’s difficult to develop an emotional connection with your audience. Emotional intelligence is defined as one’s ability to identify and manage their own emotions as well as the emotion of others. A recent PEW research study reports the growing lack of emotional intelligence of young people growing up communicating or having conversations mainly by digital media. The difficulty our younger generations are having is about connecting/conversing with others in the personal face-to-face situation.

I see it so frequently in the incubator workshops I do at colleges and universities as I try and teach young people how to use their mouths instead of their thumbs. They are slowly realizing the importance of good communication skills in order to pitch, present and communicate about their startup businesses to potential investors.

I don’t know of anyone who has yet come up with a formula and how to pitch successfully digitally.



Blumsack Brown BackgroundAs a coach, trainer and consultant, Larry Blumsack partners with people and organizations on the move and those already there to accelerate their communication, presentation and speaking skills to be on par with their ambition. Through one-on-one coaching and group training Larry helps leaders and aspiring leaders elevate their presence and communication skills to influence more people, sell more products-services-ideas and inspire others more successfully than they ever imagined.

Larry is the bestselling author of Face-to-Face is The Ultimate Social Media and founder of Zoka Institute and Zoka Training®. Zoka Training® — Mind/Voice/Body/Mindfulness in sync — is the result of Larry’s 45 years as a coach, acting teacher, actor, voice-over artist, theater and TV director/producer, radio & TV commentator and show host, speaker, trainer, serial entrepreneur, and syndicated columnist. Larry was a founding member of the theater department at Northeastern University.

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