A Not-Serious Conversation

I had an interesting conversation recently when someone asked me why I always seemed to be working. “You’re too serious,” she said, seeming a little worried about me.

It seemed odd, because I don’t have the sense that I’m always working – I just enjoy trying to solve some puzzles that interest me. But she explained what she’s seeing.

She said, “Your book on The Four Conversations – it’s all about getting what you want, when you want it, and making your workplace function better. What about the social part of work? Don’t you ever have any fun?”

Oh boy. Got me thinking. The truth is I enjoy workplace socializing, but mostly leave solving problems in the social part of office life to either Miss Manners or Dear Abby. Plus, I was a management consultant my whole career and what interested me was solving the problems managers had in getting their employees to be productive and working together toward a few key goals.

“What are you interested in?” I asked her.

“Cooking,” she said.

I laughed out loud, suddenly remembering a discussion I once joined where people shared their dearest commitments in life: real estate investment, one person said. Children and family, said another. Anthropology, said one woman. Improving veterinary hospitals, said someone else. Now I’m going to add cooking to the list of things that people find most important.

Still, they all benefit from the ability to have productive conversations, at least sometimes, don’t they? Even when you aren’t at work, you might want to make something happen – Get a new recipe? Sell real estate? Have a great family Thanksgiving dinner? Even in your non-work life, it’s helpful to know how to have those four conversations: to introduce a new idea, conduct a dialogue, make a request or a promise, and wrap things up in a positive way. It’s not a serious thing. Just useful.

You’re always welcome to send me your thoughts about this or any other blog post here, at Laurie

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