Have you ever noticed how some people do all the talking? Or how others are really good listeners?
One of these is generous in conversation where the other is not.
Generosity in conversation means wanting to understand the person behind the words. And it’s critical to developing meaningful conversations because deep conversations require space where we can be vulnerable and trusting to share who the person behind the words truly is.
One of the most generous people I know is Corey Fernandez, and he summed up generosity in a beautiful, eloquent statement.
“Generosity is giving up control in order to serve.”
By focusing on what we’re giving in service rather than on controlling, we’re able to shift our focus away from ourselves. The individual who does all the talking? They’re out to control. The person who’s actively listening? They’re out to serve.
But what does service look like when it comes to generosity? According to Corey, it’s giving people the space to share and be vulnerable. To put yourself in a place to care about someone.
Generosity in conversation involves giving to others the things that’s most beneficial to them - a caring heart. The beauty of generosity is that it’s hard to resist. When we give people the space to share, we invite honesty, dignity, and revelation.
But Corey does warn that there is a balance between control and service when it comes to giving generosity in conversation.
“It’s a balance. If we’re constantly in control, we fall on deaf ears, but if we’re only trying to serve, we don’t put ourselves out there in a vulnerable way.”
This makes sense because conversations are two-way streets. So when we only control or only give, we cut off one of an important lifeline that feeds the connection. The good news is that if you’re focused on being of serve first, you’ll have a greater impact when you do have something to offer when in control.
“Those who speak the least are heard the most.”
It’s funny how paradoxical generosity is -the more you give in service, the more you receive back in terms of trust and respect. This is the power of generosity. Though powerful, generosity rarely happens by chance - it’s an intentional decision we all must make when we enter in a conversation.
Do we want to be known as the person who does all the talking or the person who’s actively listening? We get to choose. The choice is small and simple, but the step can turn out to be the best, most generous step we take.
ENGAGEMENT OF THE DAY
For your next conversation, be mindful of whether you’re controlling the conversation or in service of the conversation. If you find yourself spending most of the time responding or sharing thoughts, take a step back and just listen and give the other person space to be vulnerable. Give yourself a chance to serve them with your generosity.
ENJOY LOST ART OF CONVERSATION?
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