Think of a great conversation you have had. Why does that particular conversation come to mind? Is it symbolic of your life?


Memorable conversations are the vessels that hold important ideas, changes and relationships. Through conversation, we find connectedness and possibility – giving our lives meaning and hope. When we widen our circle of conversation, we also expand a sense of inclusion, solidarity and engagement.


Despite conversation being central to our human condition, we do not always pay attention to how we converse with others or to the conversations that we invite. Like a painter who avoids over analyzing a brushstroke to stay spontaneous, we tend not to look much at the conditions that create great conversations. Yet when we do notice how to have better conversations, our world becomes better.


Conversations shape our views, our views shape our lives, and our lives shape the world we share.


But how do we shape our conversations?





Make SPACE for conversation. Mental-space and time-space. With space, comes freedom. The freedom to explore ideas, go on tangents or dive deep into a subject. Suffocating conversations and “I don’t have time to talk” moments tell us to shut down. When we have space, we can open up. Having an open mind takes space. Having an open agenda means you have time. What if, you scheduled free time for yourself, and spent that time in a conversational space – like on park bench with a stranger, or at a café with a friend, or on a trip with a group?


Create free time and let it be the vessel for conversation. Protect yourself from space invaders like phones-on-tables and distractions that lay outside of the circle of immediate contact with your conversation partner.




Make your conversation FACE. How does your face look when you are absolutely engaged? Fully present? Very aware of the person you are talking with? How is that different from your “I’m really busy” face? Our expression and body language emits a signal – saying ‘talk with me’ or ‘don’t go there.’ Our default face is often a façade that covers our lack of time, courage or pride. When we emit a different signal, telling the world ‘let’s talk,’ new conversations become possible. 


Seek out connection by showing the world that you believe better conversations are possible, desired and welcome. Let your face be signal not of busy-ness, but of acceptance.




Go to a conversation PLACE. Which place inspires you to be in conversation? If sitting on buenavista helps you, go there. Where do you often have the best conversations? If they are in a certain café, go there. The kitchen table is a popular place for conversation, as it has all the elements – cozy but not too comfortable, a table just for a couple of people, tea or coffee at the ready, inviting but not confining, hopefully a nice view. It is no wonder that most big decisions are taken at the kitchen table.


Find a place that inspires a sense of possibility, while letting you feel at home. Put yourself in a physical environment that is different enough to be stimulating and familiar enough to be safe.




Build your conversations on a BASE. If you are looking for better dialogue at work, think about the foundations needed to make it happen. The workplace has a lot of barriers to conversation: politics, hierarchies and hidden agendas all get in the way of honest discussion. Get in touch with the actual intentions – why is conversation important? Are you seeking a specific objective? Do you have an endgame in mind? It is not wrong to have a conversation about a plan you have in mind, but that is not the same as an open-ended conversation. At work, we don’t want to be seen wasting time, but if you are seeking real conversation, leave your fixed-ideas and assumptions behind.


Design a question that is relevant and unanswered. Be clear about your intentions and invite colleagues to mutually explore the subject, in an atmosphere of genuine listening and empathy.

Stimulating Ideas & Building Futures