I admit it. I find trivial conversation boring. It is fine for openers but if it doesn’t lead to something of depth, I’ll find an excuse to move on. Perhaps I’m just not good at it and/or perhaps I like to go deeper into who people are, what they believe, and how it impacts their life choices and behavior. Life is too short to live in the superficial. I’m not judgmental of those who think and communicate differently, just not my style. Plus, I do believe that there are many individuals who trivia talk that would prefer more in depth conversation and connection with others. For those of you interested, read on.
Monique Honaman, a corporate trainer and fellow blogger, wrote an interesting piece recently about a technique she has used to develop trust and bonding with employees of a company she was consulting with. The technique is to have each person have five minutes to share something of his or herself with the others. The beginning point is “My life story”. To get the ball rolling she suggests some starting points. They are:
- “Take us through your life highlighting the key points”
- “Who has made the biggest impact on your life? Why?”
- “What are you most proud of?”
- “What aggravates you?” ( I don’t like this one. It puts negative energy into the room)
- “What is the most challenging thing you have ever done?”
- “Where and when did you meet your spouse?” (I added that one)
- “Why did you choose the career that you did?” (I added that one as well)
None of this is life threatening, yet it opens up a sense of connection to others. As the founder of Humanistic Psychology, Dr. Carl Rogers, stated, “That which is most personal is most universal.” Below the surface each of us human beings share so much in common basic to life’s adventure, as well as unique idiosyncrasies. It is a shame that too often we don’t find the mechanism to share these commonalities and differences. It’s where the “good stuff” resides!
I like that Monique, (we’ve met and talked in depth so I can call her “Monique” J) uses this technique in her professional consulting with corporations. She finds in this setting that this human sharing leads to team members collaborating better with each other or as she states, “completing each other instead of competing with each other”.
I addition to doing counseling and therapy, and giving workshops, I have led “personal growth” groups. These have been enormously fun and productive as I facilitated and watched people share their “life story”. I witnessed people empathize, learn from, be motivated and supported, to move forward in their personal growth in various forms. Friendships formed, and in some cases, romances began, as a result of such personal sharing.
Respected Reader, I invite you to share your personal “life story” and invite others to do the same. A connection based on such a sharing results in a more caring trusting relationship. Give it a try and see if your life is enriched by sharing something in depth with another. I know my life continually is enriched by this interaction – both personally and professionally. My life is never boring thanks to the wonderful people who share their “life story” with me and invite me to share mine. Ah, depth!
“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates