The Goal of Conversation w/ Corey Fernandez

Whether it's in-person or digital, with an individual or in a group, we have conversations every single day. But when was the last time you stopped to think about the role of conversations and why we, as human beings, need conversations?

The word "conversation" comes from the Latin word "convertere," which means "to take turns." But take turns doing what exactly?

Corey Fernandez explains that the goal of every conversation is to take turns finding understanding. He illustrates this point with an analogy where two people who don’t speak the same language try to communicate ideas.

“These individuals would mostly draw pictures or perform some activity that would ultimately lead to understanding.”

This made me think of the times I’ve traveled abroad to countries where I didn’t speak the language, and I think about the times I’ve waved my arms around like I was playing a game of charades with the goal of getting an individual to understand I was trying to find a place or was trying to communicate something was too expensive. These experiences confirm to me that what Corey says about conversation is true - it’s about building understanding.

“If we think about it as you trying to understanding the picture in my head and me trying to understand the picture in your head, we can partner up to build understanding through words and active listening.”

Conversations are essentially a puzzle - where every exchange is a puzzle piece that comes together to complete a picture. By thinking about conversation in this way, you see the creative power of conversation. Purely from conversing with someone, you find yourself in a process of creation that’s extremely similar to writing: choosing words, sharing ideas, telling stories, sifting emotion and sorting thoughts.

The ultimate goal of a conversation to get the pictures in both minds to match up.

And when we can see the same picture, we unlock learning, understanding, collaboration, and connection. What a beautiful picture that is.

- Brooke



For your next conversation, try to keep in mind that your goal is understand the picture in the other person’s mind AND to help them understand the picture in your’s. Remember, the word conversation comes from the Latin “convertere” - to take turn - so take turn putting together the puzzle. 


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