A friend called from out of state this evening. I wasn’t expecting the call, but it is always a welcome one. We talked for a little over an hour. We addressed what he initially called about in just a short while, but the value of the conversation came in its continuance into other subjects on our minds and the updates of what is happening in our lives. We could have stopped after 15 minutes and accomplished the purpose of the call, but we gained more by keeping the conversation going.
My day at work started with me trying to help out an acquaintance from a nearby department who was in a bind with nobody she knew to turn to but me as someone who knew the subject she needed help with. I didn’t have to help her. My 60 hours of work this week won’t begin to get everything done that I need done. But I told her to schedule 30 minutes with me anyway to at least discuss her needs and make a determination of whether or not I could help. The direction she had been given by another department would have taken her many weeks and perhaps months to accomplish the goal. We kept talking and I kept experimenting with the software in question until about 75 minutes later I had finished all she wanted. She was ecstatic. I was glad to help (and her gift of a large bag of M&Ms didn’t hurt). We got it all done because we kept the conversation going.
It seems fewer in-depth conversations happen around me these days. Between brief texts, instant messages, emails that are supposed to be kept as short as possible, phone calls cut off because you have somewhere else to be and a myriad of other conversation stoppers, we too often don’t talk long enough to dive very deep. Our knowledge and our relationships suffer because of that, whether with coworkers, friends, family, neighbors or even strangers.
The two best parts of my day today happened through unplanned extensions of conversation. I know and appreciate both people better because of it. Give it a try.
Today’s leap year lesson #52 is Take time for conversation.