I would like to report a good experience I made to improve my communication skills. With Zwiegespräche I learnt how to really listen and how to talk about myself.
I’ll spare you my private life details, but after some “ordeals” I had lost some self-confidence, etc. up to a point that my social interactions were impeded. In the meantime I was having a friend and we never quite manage to communicate. Well I mean we talked about food, politics, but never about ourselves. We knew one another since 2 years, in Bremen. One day she realized she couldn’t open up to me and that me neither, I wouldn’t tell her who I was.
Hard to tell if I or my friend was the problem in this lack of communication… Actually it doesn’t matter. One day she came up with an idea: Zwiegespräche!
On the web you find a lot of personal opinion about Zwiegespräche, even couple therapists trying to make a business out of it, but she took time to read a book and I wish to share what I learnt.
The idea is simple: in everyday situation, although we talk, we rarely find ourselves relaxed and listening enough to our friends. So we are stuck in superficial talks.
Zwiegespräche simply break this situation. Here are the simple rules (yes, it is German so it has strict rules to be followed, but nevermind, it works).
– Last one hour and a half sessions.
– Should be scheduled as a jour-fixe, like every Thursdays. At the beginning you might plan only two sessions and decide to carry on or not. It is important to have more than one session schedule, so you feel no pressure: if you cannot find the words today, you might manage to express yourself next week!
– During the 1:30, there shall be no distraction (no food, nor music, nor TV).
– One after another we have 15 minutes to talk about subject important to us.
– We face each other.
– If one cannot find his words, don’t push, let the silence be, this is part of letting people find their words, feel confident, feel heard and slowly open up.
– Stick to the time once the timer rings it is over.
– Stick to the order of talk: one after another.
– Talk about yourself, what is important to you, this is not about you talking about the other!
– The listener, while the other is talking, cannot judge, laugh or ask question (no interference rather learning to listen).
So if you feel you need to improve you communication, because you need more self-confidence (to start a business, to find a job, to improve the atmosphere at work), and you have a friend with which you believe you never quite managed to communicate the way you’d have hoped, I recommend you follow this Zwiegespräche method to improve your communication skills.