Conversations are Engineered, Conversations are Composed
I used to think I was only a "go-with-the-flow" person, and I've come to realize that all conversation is engineered, to some degree.
We're all familiar with sales tactics. Grocery store aisles are deliberately situated so people will spend more money, the car salesmen is "going to talk to his manager..." we're so trained by cynicism because of our awareness for phoniness that we have failed to construct meaningful and purposeful conversations as people.
We all have language patterns.
"How's it going?" "Great."
"How are you?" "Fine."
We unconsciously think we have to go through these scripts because we do not realize they are scripts. Just like a sloppily built house will not support its inhabitants, sloppy and mindless conversation contributes little to its participants.
Have you stopped to think about how you connect through our shared symbols called language?
When I recognized I wanted to have deeper conversations, I started asking questions. When I discovered, by a process of intuition and analysis, that what I wanted was to deeply know and connect with people, I started gearing my conversations that way.
"What are you passionate about?"
"If you were a superhero, who would you serve or save? Why?"
"What is something that few people know about you?"
"What's something you're really good at?"
"What makes you feel most alive?"
All these questions are engineered, so to speak, and none with malicious intent. Even our answers are engineered and can be authentic expressions of us in the present moment. Instead of the "static" and "stock" conversations that go nowhere, we can do something like this:
"Hi." "Hello, my friend!"
"How are you?" "Incredible!"
"Incredible. Huh. Why?" "I'm committed to finding the joy in each moment. Right now, I'm in awe of the sunshine on the crisp fall day. How about you?"
One example among thousands, but you get the idea.
Beyond conversations being engineered, they are composed. Without having to logically think from a, b, c, all the way through an imagined flowchart to create a script in our heads, we get to PLAY. We unite around common ground and interests, we hold space for others to be even as we are being. We get to be artists of language, artists of presence, artists of connection.
The art and the science, the head and the heart, each facet of who and what we are can make its way into our communication.
Conversations are engineered, but that doesn't make them inauthentic, that makes them profound opportunities for meaningful connection. Conversations are composed, and that doesn't make them one-sided, they are beautiful opportunities for mutual expression.