I’ve just learnt something about the brain that has changed how I view making conversation.
Depending on what tasks we are doing, the brain uses one of five different types of brain waves to process and respond. The two key ones when it comes to conversation are Alpha brain waves & Beta brain waves.
The Alpha brain waves tends to respond sub-consciously, responding automatically to common stimuli. Basically, it does the things that don’t require much thought. It’s reflexive.
The Beta brain waves activate when something comes along that needs active processing and conscious thought such as problem solving or figuring out. It’s responsible for creative thinking and dealing with new stimuli.
Alpha conversations require no thought. They are the typical predictable conversations that are parroted often, so much so that the responses are automatic. These conversations are often token with no real benefit. They tend to keep people at a distance, aren’t impactful, and nothing new is learned or revealed.
Beta conversations are a little dangerous, because each step is improvised and is created in the moment. They go in unpredictable directions, require a real presence when interacting, and the conversation potentially throws up new ideas. These conversations tend to be a lot more rewarding.
Unfortunately, people often tend to opt for Alpha conversations. We leave ourselves in automatic rather than switching on.
And that’s a missed opportunity. Wouldn’t you rather have rewarding Beta conversations?
When you next have a conversation, ask yourself whether it’s an Alpha or Beta conversation. Are you really engaging? Are you switched on? Are you enjoying the conversation?
When starting a conversation, we can jump to the most obvious question. Chances are, this person has heard this question a lot and is now bored by it.
What goals can you set this year? Whether it’s having more fun, expanding friendships or personal growth, conversation is an integral factor.
The best of the best Awkward Silence articles of 2017.
Christmas is the most magical time of year. Yet too many of us let it be a highly stressful time. Does this sound like your Christmas experience? If it does, then stop.
Social media shouldn’t replace interacting with friends in real life. However, we can use it to enhance our real-life social interactions.
Try something more than mere courtesy. Taking a comment beyond what is expected demonstrates sincerity.