A useful tool in conversation is the staging of a question β€” specifically, a question for your conversation partner.

Sometimes a direct "Can you tell me about x?" is most useful.

And sometimes, it's useful to disguise it as a statement about yourself, almost as a kind of good-natured bait: "I wonder about x... we all approach it so differently, you know?" This style prompts your partner to almost impulsively explore the question internally, in the privacy of their own mind, without the pressure of needing to verbalize the formation of the answer as it comes. Then, if they want to offer a response, they may do so β€” again, without being under any kind of pressure at all.

Use this technique lightly. Maybe even just once per conversation. It's potent, but can get very old very quickly if done in an obvious manner. It's not a "bit", you know?

It's an example of allowing space and silence to be a part of the conversation. Not all conversations are best served as tight back-and-forths. Sometimes, silence is a useful addition to the table. Consider when Silence may be inviting you to leave an idea suspended in the air, resting there, as Silence works its magic upon it in full view of you and your conversation partner. A space for meditation.

This has the benefit of giving your conversation partner your unspoken blessing on their agency. They don't have to say something next.

The game is always about reducing friction between your conversation partner and what they want most to say. :) Deploy the full measure of your empathetic awareness and intelligence, in service of this goal. The expression of that which wants most to be said β€” this is potent medicine.

See also: wu wei; right action

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