One of the things that makes us most wonderfully human is our ability to use words to connect. One of the biggest barriers that needs breaking down is the conversation barrier. If we all spent the time to talk to a stranger, speak to a colleague or even chat with our friends and family more, the world would be a brighter place. I know it’s simple, but it’s true.
Having said that, we never learn if we only talk; we need to listen too. That’s what having a conversation is all about – going both ways, and allowing people to be truly heard. As Olivia says in this video, put together to support Igniting Change’s Small ways to shape our world: “I think this is one of the scariest things…connection. Having a conversation with somebody about something makes you vulnerable.”
She shares her story about having an eating disorder and being too embarrassed to talk about it, building fear and stigma. “We are social creatures, we need that connection. The healing process starts when we bring our fears to life. So don’t be afraid to have a conversation.”
Who knows how many incredibly talented people are being held back, in work and in life, because nobody has taken the time to connect with them, to remove their fears, and support them to open up. In the workplace, sometimes conversations are tough. But if you make yourself open to difficult talks, you could really help people to grow and thrive.
Next time you have the opportunity to connect with people, do it. Share a moment together, offer a thought, lend them your ear. Imagine the amazing new connection you could make.