When you talk/text/tweet/chat with someone do you use conversation enders? I’m guilty. The brevity that we often use in our communication often leads to conversation enders. For example:
- Makes sense
- 10 (yes that’s a real answer)
These are all conversation enders. If someone asks you did you like the movie Inception and you answer “yes,” that’s the end of the conversation. If you wanted the conversation to start…or rather continue, you could answer, “yes, saw it a few weeks ago. great story, solid acting, you would definitely like it. are you planning to see it?” Sure it takes a little bit more effort and yes more time, but the results are so much better.
Our account planners are amazing conversation starters. They employ techniques that keep a research interviewee talking, sharing and participating. The richness that we ascertain from focus groups comes from having a great moderator than can probe deeper and deeper, while making it seem like it’s all part of a normal conversation. I am continually impressed with how well they are able to keep a conversation going and their ability to avoid conversation enders.
Of late, I’ve found my own communication habits leaning toward conversation enders instead of dialogue that keeps the conversation going. When you’re in constant communication with a wide variety of people through a wide variety of channels and platforms, it can be insanely easy to answer with 1 word responses and short phrases that end the conversation. We’re so focused on checking off our list and moving on to the next conversation that we have lost the ability to communicate well.
I often remark in presentations about social media, that we talk less, but interact more. As a marketer, that’s a powerful concept filled with opportunity. As a normal person, it makes for bad dialogue that eliminates meaningful dialogue. That can’t be good for relationships, maybe that’s why I’ve failed with so many?