Meaningful and Satisfying Conversations

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    Beth Venus

    How do you go about having meaningful and satisfying conversations with the people in your life or with new people? What have some of your best conversations been about or been like? And how can someone go about improving their conversational skills?

    Thoughts loved 🙂


    Ask questions. Lots of questions. Especially open-ended ones. Hopefully the other person opens up and you can have a deeper conversation. This usually works for me. I tend not to talk about myself and my point of view but instead I show the other person that I am interested in what they have to say. This usually makes them feel more at ease and my inquisitive nature is rewarded.

    One of the best conversations I’ve had was about fear and overcoming it in face of hostile environment (e.g mountaineering) Getting to the root of what makes another person tick was fascinating. Talking around a fire seems to be conducive the great conversations. There is something about fire which is calming, soothing and makes people feel comfortable and at ease.

    Good luck!

    Alexa Lee

    I agree, asking someone questions can help you figure out what is meaningful to that person, how that person thinks, & is an essential part of a meaningful conversation. Another important part of maintaining a meaningful and satisfying conversation with someone is sharing things- i.e., experiences, thoughts, feelings- about yourself that add to what the other person is saying. Even if it means veering off subject for a moment. I don’t interrupt; I make eye contact and listen to what the other person is saying, and respond to the part of the person’s story that relates to me, and in this way the conversation revolves around both people instead of just one. This is how I make connections.


    Hi Beth,

    My name is Kavetha and I am a psychiatrist and someone who is always trying to learn more about how to listen and have better conversations, since thats what I primarily do for a living 🙂

    My suggestions would be:

    Ask clarifying questions: for e.g; if the person is talking about her commute to work: ask how she gets to work and how long it takes etc;

    Don’t over pepper with questions though: let the conversation flow naturally and ask the next question when there is a slight lull

    Mimicking body language of the other person is helpful too. It activates neurons in the brain called “”mirror neurons”, which makes both people in a conversation feel empathy. For e.g.: If the person is sitting and slumped over, sit down nearby; whereas if he/she is excitedly pacing, then stand up and ask if they want to chat while walking etc;

    Also, while making eye contact, its helpful to look into the other persons LEFT eye. since signals from the left eye go mainly to the right part of the brain which is more emotionally attuned. But be careful to not stare.

    Smiling is good, as long as it feels genuine (We are all remarkably good at picking up on fake smiles).

    Sometimes, just nodding and “uh-huh” or “oh wow that must have been hard” etc; is enough to show the person you are interested and following their train of thought, but not interrupting or finishing their sentences for them.

    Open non judgmental listening, without preconceived ideas or solutions is always helpful.

    Amy Cuddy, a brillant psychologist who studies this, has an awesome TED talk that I also learnt a lot from:

    Let me know if you have ay other specific questions, would love to help answer them.



    Listen more than you speak. Ask the other person lots of questions.

    Janet Ong Zimmerman

    Dear Beth, in addition to the great suggestions from the other participants, being present and vulnerable lead to more meaningful and satisfying conversations with others. Connection happens in the present, and when we release our mind from thinking about the past or future, we’re able to connect on a deeper level. Being vulnerable shows our humanity and makes others feel more comfortable opening up. I’ve found that when I’ve been present and genuinely vulnerable, I’ve had some very meaningful conversations.


    I found a meetup group that discusses the writings of Eckhart Tolle. It gave me a chance to talk about a subject I really love. The subject matter matches the very nature I am trying to achieve, presence.

    Also, I have gone to some Meditation sessions around town. Each has a discussion session before or after the Meditation. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m in the perfect state of mind to express my thoughts.

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