Every day we interact with hundreds of people across dozens of platforms, but how can a meaningful conversation help your business?

Conversations are key to language development, the exchange of thoughts and ideas and listening to each other. People learn by hearing each other’s thoughts while observing facial and body expressions that show emotions.

“Face to face conversation is the most human and humanising thing we do,” says Sherry Turkle in her book ‘Reclaiming Conversation – The Power of Talk in a Digital Age’.
“Fully present to one another, we learn to listen. It is where we develop the capacity for empathy. It’s where we experience the joy of being heard and of being understood.
Conversation advances self-reflection, the conversations with ourselves that are the cornerstone of early development and continue throughout life.”

Technology is a part of everyday life, but replacing face-to-face conversation with phone conversation, via texting, emailing, etc., has taken important skills away from children and young adults.
In today’s world, there is a “flight from conversation,” as Turkle says. All ages of people cannot do without phones and screens, but a balance is of utmost importance.

How much time do you typically spend with others? And when you do, how connected and attuned to them do you feel? Your answers to these simple questions may well reveal your biological capacity to connect.

If you’ve ever been trapped in an lift with a casual acquaintance, you know just how painful small talk can be. “Such a shame that we’re stuck in the office on a beautiful day like this!” your peer may even smile. Or, “How was your weekend?” your neighbor may ask not because he or she actually cares about the quality of your weekend, but because there is an awkward silence that begs to be filled.

There’s a reason small talk like this exists. If your peer were to ask you about your darkest secrets or deepest wishes while the two of you descend floors in a tiny metal box, you would probably feel like this is too much, too fast. As in, too much intimacy, too early on in your relationship.
Likewise, small talk can help us probe for more interesting topics to talk about.
For example, if you were to answer your neighbor by saying, “My weekend was great! I bought the final component for my laser defense drone,” your neighbor would definitely have some follow-up questions.

The instant and omnipresent world of communication has increased our capacity to connect on a perfunctory level, but in some cases has thwarted our capacity to have real and meaningful face-to-face conversations.
The two forms of communication — virtual and physical — can work in tandem, though the physical kind obviously takes a bit more effort, but most often results in a far more meaningful experience.

A popular article in The New York Times, Your Phone vs Your Heart, mirrored some of these observations. In particular, the article explored how we can actually “re-wire” our heart and brain to become more secluded.
It contends, “If you don’t regularly exercise your ability to connect face to face, you’ll eventually find yourself lacking some of the basic biological capacity to do so.”
In summary, if you don’t go out of your way to form meaningful, personal friendships beyond the virtual ones, you may lose the ability to do so in the future.
A sort of “use it or lose it” model. What was also intriguing about the article was that through these connections, you actually build up your biological capacity to not only empathize but also improve your health.

Heidegger probably had it right when he made the prescient statement, “Technology makes us at home everywhere and nowhere [at the same time].”

We are more connected than ever, yet we remain walled off behind our smartphones, mobile devices and computer screens.
Perhaps our communication tools are more cosmetic than we think; they have yet to master the ancient and inimitable art of human contact.
Your success is determined in large part by your ability to have a conversation. You can be the best at what you do, but if you’re not communicating effectively with clients, staff and the market, then you’re missing opportunities.
There are many different ways to look at communication in the small-business world from the individual formats such as writing and speaking, to different contexts such as client communication and employee management.
Each and every day you will be required to flex your communication muscles and interact; a bad conversation could spell disaster for an employee relationship, a customer or your business.
Alternatively, the right words at the right time could propel your business into places you didn’t think possible and can deliver opportunities that were not available before.

Geoff Hudson-Searle – Meaningful Conversations

We should all stay inspired with ideas and innovation, creating great things!

Interestingly, meaningful conversations are not restricted to, or guaranteed by, long-term relationships. I’ve had deeper conversations with strangers on an airplane than with some people I’ve known for decades.

Karen Salmansohn once said:

“Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.”

Wimbledon Gentleman Matthew Benwell and Editor at Wimbledon Gent Interviews Geoff Hudson-Searle

Talking Business with Geoff Hudson-Searle

The modern Gent likes to be seen as an approachable man who embraces new trends and feels confident in what he does. Business is a way of life and something that is a part of him but does not define him. The entrepreneurial streak reflects his opportunistic vision on life and that all things can be achieved.

One man who encapsulates all that is Gent about the modern entrepreneur is Geoff Hudson-Searle. I had the pleasure of working with Geoff a number of years in a different guise and was impressed with his natural charm and effortless relaxed approach to work. Since then, Geoff has written a book about the art of communicating at work and in the modern world in general entitled “Meaningful Conversations”.

I was a little apprehensive at first as business guides, I have always felt, are rather American in their outlook. I feel that, quite often, they are only relevant to the experiences of the writer and are a collection of power-phrases and long winded, overly complex explanations.

“Meaningful Conversations” is a simple and actually enjoyable read. One of its main deviations from the norm is that it is split into short, sharp chapters making concise and relevant points. The book does not also have that preachy quality which one usually associates with business guides. The relevance of the book is all –encapsulating to whatever level you feel you are at in the business world. It gives simple advice to the soul trader as well as the corporate employee looking for meaning. I hate to say it, I genuinely found the book to be a pleasant experience which covered not just an outlook to the modern business world but to life in general.

Having read the book Geoff kindly took time out to have a chat with me:

WG: Hi Geoff, thanks for meeting with me. Obviously our focus here is on SW London. What is your connection to SW London?

GHS: I have always lived in South West London, spending the majority of my time in Wimbledon Village, Barnes and now Chiswick Park. You will still often see me in the Village at the Ivy Cafe reminiscing and writing those special experiences, those memorable stories from our past and foresight’s for the future, that will always contain the line ‘and as it all happened or as it is going to happen’

WG: In a world full of business guides, especially in the American market, what do you feel separates yours from that field?

GHS: Many business books in the open market discuss what makes the author so successful at their accomplishment, “Meaningful Conversations” across 54 short chapters demonstrates the relationship between communications (human 2 human, human 2 technology, human 2 bot and robot), strategy and business development and growth. Readers will gain insights into topical subjects, components of Communications, Strategy and Business Development and Growth, including a wide range of tips, models and techniques that will help to build strong and effective solutions in today’s business world. It is important to understand that a number of the ideas, developments and techniques employed at the beginning as well as the top of a business can be successfully made flexible to apply the terms ‘Communications’, Strategy’ and Business Development and Growth’ not least forgetting the fact that these have become overused during the last decade and have become devalued as a result. In my book I aim to simplify these terms and to re-value management and leadership by addressing topics and subjects in each distinctive chapter. This book provides a holistic overview of the essential leading methods of techniques. It will provide you with a hands-on guide for everyone across business and life.

WG: For me I was surprised about the holistic approach you take in some of your writing. This is surely a clean break from the traditional, almost stuffy, image of business. What took you down that path?

GHS: The idea for the name “Meaningful Conversations” came to me because to some extent or other all of us carry a reflection of the experiences of our lives. However, whether and how we succeed is determined at least in part by how we cope with those experiences and what we learn from them. The only exception is that nobody has ever written transparently across the highly complex world in which we live and operate within our business and personal life’s, people try to divide their lives, but the reality is we only have one life. I would want the reader to walk away with determination to never, never give up on the dream. The dream becomes reality and you are the master of that journey.

WG: In the modern world of social media and whatsapp, do you feel that communication on a face-to-face level is something of a lost art?

GHS: Social technologies have broken the barriers of space and time, enabling us to interact 24/7 with more people than ever before. But like any revolutionary concept, it has spawned a set of new barriers and threats. In an ironic twist, social media has the potential to make us less social; a surrogate for the real thing. For it to be a truly effective communication vehicle, all parties bear a responsibility to be genuine, accurate, and not allow it to replace human contact altogether. I think the answer to a balanced life is to have human 2 human and creative time, send flowers, write cards, poetry, read real books, integrated with email, social media and collaboration tools. What ever happened to picking up the phone, or talking to someone face-to-face over coffee, I guess we do we not have time.

WG: Finally, what inspired you to write this book?

GHS: I started as a writer with a non-fiction, “Freedom after the Sharks”, and “Meaningful Conversations” was always to be a fiction. The book deals with the constant root cause of today’s plethora of life and business challenges. It explores the why’s and wherefores of communications, strategy and development and growth in our ways of thinking and experiencing the world, and then uncovers a way ahead through 54 short stories backed by research from MIT, Harvard, Stamford, Oxford and Cambridge. It draws upon Eastern and Western wisdom and blends philosophy with pioneering new thought. Are you up for crossing the threshold? In “Meaningful Conversations” you will find the answers to our most pressing challenges in business and life.

WG: Thank you for your time Geoff

So there you have it; an interesting and thoroughly thought-provoking take on he modern world of business. If you want to buy “Meaningful Conversations”, it is available via Amazon, Apple, Google Play, Nook, Kodo, Smashwords, Waterstones, Barnes and Noble in hardback, paperback, kindle, e-book and direct from the publisher via Matador.

You can see more of Geoff’s work at hsbusinessmanagement.com and his book at meaningfulconversationsbook.com you can also follow him on twitter: @GeoffHSearle