The Art of Conversation

Art of cinversationChristmas is nearly upon us again. Straight-away my heart goes out to lonely and isolated people. Those out of touch with their loved ones. Those who struggle with the cold, maybe a reduced immune system.

And let’s face it, not everyone enjoys Christmas anyway.

It can all get just that bit too noisy. Crowded shopping malls and streets with nowhere quiet to go. Even staying put indoors, the likelihood is the loud arrival of noisy visitors – all expecting you to be as caught up in the magic of the festivities as they are.

For those with an acquired brain injury, Christmas can equally spell feelings of entrapment, anxiety, confusion, irritation, dizziness, extra fatigue, anger. And then comes the fallout.

So in light of all that, I thought I’d share something of a book recommendation with you from a client. For the sake of confidentiality, let’s call our book reviewer Adam. Up until his brain injury, Adam dealt with negotiations and contracts as part of his job. Now he admits to being rigid in his thinking and unable to handle group conversations.

“How to Control a Conversation” (by Peter W. Murphy)

How to converse

Adam said to me: “I’m only up to page 14. I keep re-reading the same pages, and I am getting the idea. The book is making me stop and ask myself questions. I ask myself: ‘Am I communicating on the right level with the right person?'”

I was unsure what he meant by this. In my mind I had a picture of his mind’s eye stepping away from himself to watch his scene and hear what he himself was saying in it. Did this image make any sense to him? I asked. He told me it did.

He continued: “It gets complicated sometimes. There are words I know exist but they won’t come. It’s helpful to be able to predict what’s coming out of your mouth. This book is helping me to ask the right questions inwardly before I say anything.”

Something else that became more apparent as I listened to Adam (I don’t think he’ll mind me saying so) was an increasing empathy within him, or at least an attempt to imagine how he sounded to others. And a sense that somehow writer, Peter Murphy’s guidance was a mind opener Adam is finding exciting.

I haven’t read the book myself. But I’m thinking I might buy it as a Christmas present to myself. Thank you, Adam.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! All my best for 2019.

Sean

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