How to Have a Reflective Conversation

grandma-and-grandaughter-in-kitchen-reflective-conversationThe art of having a great conversation requires time and skill to develop. However what most people do not understand is that rather than having a formal conversation and being uncomfortable you can have great informal conversations. Since informal conversations often turn into reflective conversations you can gather a lot of information from the other person in comparison to having a formal conversation. Hence while interviewing a person start with an informal conversation to get out the maximum information you will need. Be relaxed and enjoy the conversation. Rather than sticking to a plan let the conversation flow.




Most people think that it is difficult to have an informal conversation with a stranger. But in hindsight they are surprised at the ease and comfort with which they can informally talk to a stranger. However to comfortably engage in an informal conversation and subsequently in a reflective conversation you must be confident. People who feel confident can steer the reflective conversations easily towards the desired path to get the information they require.




While interviewing a stranger you must do your homework to appropriately pick your questions which will help start an informal conversation. At such times it is best to know much beyond the likes and dislikes of the person you will be interviewing. Find out about the experiences which are cherished by the person and start asking questions about the particular experience and you will be surprised at the level of comfort which will help you ask more probing questions when the conversation has become reflective.




While holding reflective conversations it is important that you are a good listener. You must not interrupt the person while they are speaking. Since reflective conversations are a product of deep thinking, disturbance will lead to the chain of thoughts being broken and you will not be able to get the information you need. Hence patiently hear out their complete line of thought and then begin asking further questions. Also remember to give the person ample time to think before answering the question. Do not ask two or three questions at once. Instead ask a simple question and wait for the answer. You might get your next question in the answer itself which will help take the reflective conversation forward.


So practice your skills of informal and reflective conversations with people you are comfortable with and then begin interviewing a stranger. Also, if possible get permission to record the conversation which will help prevent the missing out of crucial details.

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