How many conversations have you had today? (And by conversations I mean real ones, you know, with real people that were physically close enough for you to poke a stick at.)
Now out of those, how many felt like you made a real connection with your fellow human being? Can you remember the details of what she said? The emotion of her words? How she looked as she spoke?
And how did the conversation make you feel? What did you say? Would you call the conversation satisfying, or was it a little ‘meh’?
If you’re thinking ‘ummm..no, I didn’t get any of that..’ then that’s perfectly OK.
If we’re honest, most of us would admit to being somewhere else during our conversations. And why wouldn’t we – at ‘somewhere else’ there’s feeds to be scrolled, messages to check and statuses to be updated…
But what if we were fully present? Really listened. Connected. Held space.
I reckon that would be a mindful conversation. A mindful conversation where we commit to hear,
understand and unrush.
Sounds good, huh?
What is mindfulness
To be mindful simply means to fully engage the mind in whatever you are experiencing at any given moment. For example, to eat an apple mindfully means to notice every detail of the experience – the loud crunch of the bite, the juiciness in your mouth, the smell of the fruit, its shape, texture, colour, and so on.
Such moments of mindfulness help us to BE in the moment 100% rather than be a bystander to the myriad of experiences that flavour everyday. (And who wants to be a bystander, right?!)
Mindfulness can be applied to all sorts of experiences, from eating, moving and communication,
Being mindful during conversations can be powerful for both parties in developing connection, and mutual respect.
Ready to practice mindfulness in your next conversation? Here are 4 things to help you
supercharge the experience:
- Wait your turn
Let’s be honest.
When you’re chatting with a friend, are you usually busting to jump in so badly that you’re
mentally formulating your response before he finishes his sentence?
Calm your farm, sunshine. Even though I’m sure you simply want to help, remember a it’s a
conversation, not a competition.
Mindfulness asks us to wait rather than hijack the conversation. (Mindfulness and good
manners, actually!) Take your role as a listener seriously. Step back, really listen and wait for an appropriate pause in conversation to chime in. When we burst in like an excitable puppy it’s easy to miss vital details and information around what your friend wants to express. When you sense a natural pause, try counting to 10 before sharing your thoughts.
- Be present
Unless you’re a goldfish, getting distracted mid-conversation is not cool. Be present. Tame a
wandering mind by honing in on what is happening in the present moment.
Make her words the focus of your attention. Employ all your senses. Absorb her words, notice
their weight and volume. Sense the temperature of the air around you. Observe body language –
what is that telling you? Lots of eye contact let’s your companion know you are really there.
- Suspend judgment
An impatient mind will often jump to conclusions before knowing the full deal. Try to suspend
any judgement or interpretation of a situation until your friend has laid all her cards on the table.
When it’s your turn, you can even paraphrase what you’ve just heard and ask if you’ve got the
story right, before responding.
- Go with the flow
Some conversations come with more twists and turns than a Hollywood blockbuster! Practice
mindfulness by accepting whatever comes up and resist predicting the outcome. Let go of any
urge to control – allow yourself to be a passenger, and enjoy the ride. Try a little mindfulness
Conversations are great. It’s how we get to know ourselves, our fellow humans and the, world
around us. But when you want to super-charge your conversations with more connection and meaning, try a little mindfulness.