What are the key ingredients in a great conversation? Curiously, they are qualities — like open-ness, willingness, silence — that have very little to do with talking, and very much to do with listening.
In this episode, I speak with Fanny Auger, the founder of the School of Life in Paris and the author of the hit book Trêve de Bavardages, about the art of conversation.
Among other topics, we dig into why silence is the new luxury, questions you can use to jumpstart better conversations, and why you should think twice before sharing your advice.
Key takeaways from our conversation:
- The 3 essential ingredients in a great conversation
- How to ask better questions and avoid boring “what do you do?” conversations
- What to do when you need to have a tough conversation at work
- Why “confronting” your ideas in conversation is a crucial part of the creative process
- How to share advice with care
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“My dad used to tell me, you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as you speak.”
“You know this sentence, ‘Oh, you know, that happened to me, too.’ But it’s never, never the same. It’s not about you. If someone feels like telling you a personal story, something painful, it’s never the same. You might think you’re empathetic, but maybe you’re not really listening.”
“Now, the true luxury is silence.”
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A shortlist of the people, books, and ideas that came up during our conversation:
- Fanny’s book Trêve de Bavardages (in French) coming out soon in English
- The scene in Pulp Fiction about uncomfortable silences
- TED talk by Julian Treasure about how to listen better
- Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives by Theodore Zeldin
- Also, a cool idea: “conversation dinners”
- Follow Fanny: Website | Instagram
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