What Is Conversation?
Most conversations could be had with a tree, or not had at all, and the world would be no worse for it. There is really no interaction of thoughts. It is basically a one sided monologue about what one person thinks. Conversation is not about exchanging information or facts. Facts can be obtained without dialog. What is it then that good conversation offers that information systems don’t? Empathy, sympathy, pathos.
"Conversation is to use words in order to declare one's mind and disclose one's thoughts."
What do you talk about most often?
What is the first thing, or the main thing, you most often talk about?
Weather? Politics? Self? Family? Job? Children? House? Sports? Your health? Money?
Make it a matter of study to listen to conversations and observe whether is was a good conversation or not. What makes it good? Is there give and take. Are both people listening? Is there any real pathos? Is information the key ingredient?
Interrogation – Asking too many probing questions.
Small talk – Talking about nothing, the weather, sports, "what’s happenin’ man?"
Self talk – Talking about yourself 80-90% of the time. Waiting to interject more of your story.
Listening only – Listening so much that the conversation is a monologue by the other person.
Disinterest – Giving the impression you are in a hurry, not interested, bored.
A GOOD CONVERSATION
The goal of conversation is that which was experienced by Jesus and his disciples on the road to Emmaus – "And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" – Luke 24:32
The Lord declared in Malachi 3:16 that he keeps a record of conversation, especially of those that involve his name.
"Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name." – Malachi 3:16
A good definition for conversation is found in the word study of the Greek word for "talk," laleo. "to use words in order to declare one's mind and disclose one's thoughts."
2980 laleo lal-eh'-o – "Talk with"
AV-speak 244, say 15, tell 12, talk 11, preach 6, utter 4, misc 3, vr speak 1; 296
1) to utter a voice or emit a sound
2) to speak 2a) to use the tongue or the faculty of speech 2b) to utter articulate sounds
3) to talk 4) to utter, tell
5) to use words in order to declare one's mind and disclose one's thoughts
Conversation then is "the use of words between two people to exchange ideas, declare one’s mind, and disclose one’s inner thoughts." When is the last time you had a good conversation. Much of our talking is not conversation.
Take a few moments now to reflect on good conversations you have had.
- Who was involved?
- Where were you when it took place?
- How long did it last?
- What was talked about?
- How did it make you feel?
As a contrast start by remembering some bad conversations and ask the same questions. Bad conversations make us feel bad. Either we feel like they are empty or shallow or they leave us feeling uncomfortable. Good conversation then starts with good treasures of the heart.
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." – Luke 6:45