Recently I found myself thinking and stating that we, as a social group and as a generation, are loosing the “Art of Conversation”. I look my surroundings and see all age people texting, e-mailing, writing brief notes and posting them in the fridge for family members, at the door of a neighbor, or at the coworkers or peers’ computers. I ask, read, research looking for an explanation to this set of behaviors and more or less I found these reasons: is a sign of the progress in communication, is due to save time or because there is no time to stop and talk with, and so on.
But I grew up engaging in conversations, enjoying conversations, enriching myself through “The Art of Conversation”. Thus, I decided to reach my friends and readers and share with them my ideas and experiences with the hope that soon all of us will get involved in “the Art of Conversation”.
Conversation is defined as an informal interchange of thoughts between two or more people. Consequently, its nature is interactive and its form is an spontaneous for of communication.
– Interactive: because contributions to a conversation are response reactions to what has previously been said.
– Spontaneous/unpredictable: because conversation involves an immediate response -there is not much of a time lag between the action of one person and the response of the other. The immediacy of talk also allows people to ask questions and to explore different angles.
Conversation is a social activity: to talk with others involves thinking about their feelings, thoughts and needs. In turn, they too must think of you or me. We have to consider, for example, whether our words could upset or offend the others; or whether they will help us in dealing with the matter in hand.
Conversation is a learning experience: people involved in the exchange of thoughts are open to experience changes and modifications internally as a consequence of it. Thus, conversation is the means by which existing knowledge is conveyed and new knowledge is generated.
Through conversation I learned about my ancestors –not their names or places of birth, but their imprints in my parents, in my uncles and aunts. Through conversation I learned the popular wisdom used by my parents and relatives to explain why the moon had light a few days of the month but no the others, why the earth rich in iron was good to grow certain types of plants but not others, why the elders always have a response to the how to and the why if,
Through conversation I discover the similarities and the differences between my friends and my peers and myself. Through conversation I share with my peers my fantasies and dreams while we were growing up, moreover, through conversation, together, we validate our dreams and fantasies and we were able to move further as young ladies with clear goals and objectives in life.
Through conversation my husband and myself built and continue building up our intimacy and slowly we have been able to create a partnership of love and life. Through conversation I have been giving myself to my son without holding back anything in my soul. Through conversation we became and become a family.
Through conversation I enrich my spirit with all and each one of those that are my real friends.
Hugh Dubberly and Paun Pangano, What is conversation? How can we design for effectiveconversation.
Tony Jeffs and Mark K. Smith. Informal Education. Conversation, democracy and learning.