National Conversation Week at NGP
The art of human communication can often go missing in a world dominated by social media. Modern life means we often resort to online channels of communication rather than taking the time to speak to people instead. That’s why NCW aims to encourage people in the UK to try and reconnect through the physical act of talking.
This year, National Conversation Week has focused on the inquisitive side of conversation – asking questions. To understand concepts, to learn new ideas or to develop intrapersonal relationships, asking questions helps us gain a greater understanding of the world around us.
At NGP, asking questions is incredibly important. They help us connect with our clients and understand their issues. They allow us to identify the source of their problems, and allow us to work towards implementing solutions. Asking questions lets us develop deeper knowledge and boost confidence; it encourages the exchange of ideas and fuels innovation and technology. Most importantly, it expands the human connection. It can give us a whole new perspective in a way we may not have yet considered.
Conversations and wellbeing
Firstly, let’s consider the ‘NHS Five Ways to Wellbeing’: Connect, Learn, Give, Exercise, Mindfulness. These five pillars of health and wellbeing have long been regarded as the bedrock of mental wellbeing; the basis on which all of us should centre our lifestyles and routines.
‘Connection’ quite literally means positive interactions with others. That could mean talking, listening or being around others in a way that drives positive feelings and strong relationships. This helps to:
- Build a sense of belonging and self-worth
- Give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
- Provide emotional support and allows for empathy
‘Giving’ can be more ambiguous, through small acts of kindness towards other people, or contributing to something bigger than yourself such as volunteering. This helps to:
- Create positive feelings of self and others
- Give a feeling of purpose and self-worth
- Drive a sense of reward and self-esteem
We need only look as far as the impacts of COVID-19 for evidence of how these key aspects of human health drive feelings of wellbeing, with segregation and restrictions serving to create a real challenge in terms of mental health throughout the world. We all need to socialise in order to feel well in ourselves.
How to foster positive connections
So now that we know why it’s so important, how do we foster positive connections with others and drive meaningful conversations with people who really need it? Here’s a quick guide:
- Use neutral statements and avoid being judgmental. Avoid using phrases like ‘in my opinion…’ and ‘I think you should…’.
- Be a better listener. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Think carefully about what the other person is saying and ensure you’ve understood correctly before moving on.
- Silences don’t have to be uncomfortable. If you’re a good listener, it shows that you’re confident and comfortable – that you’re giving the person time to think about what they’d like to say.
- What to do when you don’t know what to say: this is common and is a real barrier for many people – if this happens. Be honest: ‘I don’t know what to say, but I’m so glad that you’ve told me’ and ‘keep talking to me and telling about how you’re feeling’.
For more information and resources, or to get involved visit: https://www.nationalconversationweek.co.uk/