WHAT IS A 'CONVERSATION EVENT'?
A 'conversation event' is any occasion, lasting any length of time, in which conversation is an essential part of the planning. For example, in this definition, a play on its own is not a 'conversation event', but a play followed by a programmed conversation about it is.
On a smaller scale, inviting a group of friends for a meal or a drink is not a 'conversation event', but if you have decided on a focus for conversation – for example, childhood or relationships or the special food you are eating – then it is.
If you are a member of a regular book group, in which of course, conversation is core, you may like to think about how you may extend or deepen the conversations you have. For example, you may have a meeting in which everyone shares the story of a book that has made a great impact on them and why.
We are interested in hearing what you discover at any of the events you plan. What made them successful? What might you do differently next time? These are valuable tips to pass on.
However, there is another kind of 'conversation event'. It is the kind that is unplanned – where you say, with surprise, 'That was a great conversation!' Many of these seem to come out of nowhere. But what made it so special? What was it about? What did you learn from it? One of the attractions of conversations is that they are one-off, in-the-moment, events. Not all conversations can be 'great conversations' – we'd be exhausted! - but we can learn from many of them and share together what we've learned about how to plan them and to nurture them.
Conversation, writes Sherry Turkle, in Reclaiming Conversation, is ‘the most human – and humanizing thing we do...It’s where we develop the capacity for empathy. It’s where we experience the joy of being heard, of being understood. And conversation advances self-reflection, the conversations with ourselves that are the cornerstone of early development and continue throughout life.’