The best conversations create a container for the extraordinary. They are spacious, resource rich, and leave the other person with a sense of the conversation that grows over time even if the content of the conversation fades. They are unforgettable. Always seem like more than enough. And are infused with generosity. The best conversations take so much more into account than could ever be spoken—they are based on a knowing, not a thinking. And a listening that transcends an intense fixation on the other person’s words—or their body language. The best conversations leave an enduring aspect of the other person in us—and of us in the other person. This is the most exquisite common ground.
1 Presence. We are fully present when nothing from our history—or any attachment to something in our future—can pull us out of the moment. We are unconditionally available to the other person, and there is nowhere we can imagine wanting to be more. Presence creates a sense of sufficiency for you—and for the other person. A sense that you have every element—and every condition—needed to do really spectacular things together.
2 Content vs Meaning. It’s easy to over-focus on the content of the conversation and miss opportunities to understand and design around the deeper meanings of the conversation. To be reactionary instead of relational. Intuitive conversationalists resist the urge to play verbal ping pong—they understand what’s overtly being spoken is only a surface aspect of what could be said. And that often, the other person is either unable—or has never been afforded the opportunity—to express what’s really going on. To make a deeper request. To ask for something magnificent.
3 Reconciliation vs Resolution. Often a conversation will take an abrupt turn to the negative or suddenly become uncomfortable. It’s clear instead of talking about what’s possible now, someone is still talking about something unreconciled in their past and expressing it through the story of what’s happening now. It’s tempting to be a fixer in these moments. To resolve the tension in the conversation by trying to resolve the other person’s issue. The past wrong. And although occasionally resolving the issue allows us to move forward, more often it entrenches both parties even more in the past. It’s not for lack of the ability to resolve things that people get stuck on issues—it’s for lack of internal reconciliation to the issue.
4 Importance & Relevance. At the level of ego, it feels good to be important—even indispensable. It soothes our primal fear of being left out. Of not mattering. And it’s temping to craft our dialog with others around whatever builds them up in this way—to express how they and only they can uniquely help out. Make it work. Make it happen. And yet, the soul’s urge is to be increasingly relevant—not important. To develop the capacity to relate to more and more things—to participate and contribute in more and more ways. Ultimately, what people most want is for things to get better when they show up, but thrive even more after they leave.
5 Forcing Choice Points. Goal-oriented conversations thrive in smaller, more defined contexts. They seek to make something that is easily-definable happen. They are straightforward to evaluate and often conform to whatever time line we specify. Possibility-oriented conversations thrive in larger, more expansive contexts. They create a space for something to happen that is really big, but less easily defined. They are harder to evaluate on the front end, and often require great patience. And the ability to surrender specific demands. If we pursue a more goal-oriented conversation when a more possibility-oriented conversation is called for, we may force premature choice points for the other person. This often produces fragile buy-in or shallow opt-out. The illusion of a “yes” that’s really a “no,” or the assumption of a “no” because we can’t create a conversation big enough—or over a long-enough period—to make the way for a super spectacular “yes.”
6 Radiation. Any emotion you generate creates an in-kind response in everything around you—to some extent, you induce the world you experience. When we are non-judgmental, appreciative, and open-hearted, we connect with others quickly and cleanly. People re-experience appreciative moments in their history by experiencing us. But when we are judgmental and fearful, we induce an in-kind response connecting people to the most difficult moments in their history. The best containers for conversation are set up more by what people feel from us than by what they hear from us.
7 The Four Elements. Intuitives harness the power of the four primal elements in conversation: earth, water, air, fire. Earth grounds the conversation in the practical and creates pathways for release in the other person. Water brings passion to the conversation and un-enmeshed nurturing. Air structures the subtle aspects of the conversation and makes dreams more real and more reachable. Fire empowers the conversation and creates the threshold of energy required to launch something big. It’s important to know which element is needed in any given moment—and have the capacity to generate and infuse the missing or balancing element.