I love conversation. Always have. And here’s the key, a definition in fact, to good conversation – conversation is a talk, especially an informal one, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged.
If it isn’t exchanged, if it isn’t shared – it’s a monologue, a performance. That’s not a conversation. And if it is, at the end of the day, a monologue, well, it better be good enough to sell tickets because otherwise it’s a lecture, not a personal exchange at all.
I think conversation is a lost art – the ability to be interested in other people’s thoughts and moments and anecdotes and humorous observations and also to be willing to share your own in an interesting way. I’m lucky to have several friends and acquaintances who are gifted raconteurs and generous audiences. It’s almost like a game – I pick up the phone with Dabney, or Larry, or Tim, or David, for instance, and the following half hour is a Dick Cavett Show from the Seventies. Smart. Funny. Thoughtful. Thought filled.
It’s invigorating, it’s awakening, it’s the intellectual and social challenge we’ve been looking for. We are all our own best material and best observers. The question is, do you really want to converse with these smart, funny poignant people who will give you their opinions honestly because they’re honest and amazing and honestly amazing, or do you want to sit back, deliver a monologue and shut the conversation down?
It’s pretty much your call. Talk. Listen. Respond. Converse. I choose the conversation. Always.
The art of conversation lies in listening.
– Malcolm Forbes