How To Have a Good Conversation

1. Turn off all devices.

2. Listen.

3. Do not interrupt.

4. Ask good questions

5. Find a quiet environment.

6. Add coffee and/or adult beverage–in moderation.

7. Do not do all the talking.

8. Monitor the other persons responses. Are they bored or offended or interested?

9. Try to speak well.

10. Do not complete another person’s sentence unless they are obviously having difficulty finding the correct word. Some people–believe it or not–pause to find the right word. I am one of them. I do not need you to help out, thank you.

11. Pray for the person with whom you are speaking.

12. Before a planned conversation, ask God to work through you to minister to the other person.

13. Do not fear silence.

14. Know when to end it.

Author: Douglas Groothuis

Author of Christian Apologetics, Truth Decay, On Jesus, On Pascal, and others. Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary since 1993. Head of The Apologetics and Ethics Masters Degree Program and Co-Director of The Gordon Lewis Center for Christian Thought and Culture. Senior Fellow for Apologetics.com.

5 thoughts

  1. Dr. Doug – this is a wise and much needed post. I want to highlight #7 as it is such an important point. So often we feel that if we throw our thoughts and ideas at a person that we can convince them of our beliefs. However, consider how we respond when someone does this to us. We usually just shut off our listening. Why? Because we already believe what we believe and “being told” only causes us to become irritated or ignore a speaker.

    When instead we listen to people and comment on what they are saying, we meet them where they are willing and wanting to go. We can challenge them there and offer alternative views, but we are still expressing that we see them; that they are people with unique value and intelligence. Isn’t this how we want to be seen and approached? Isn’t this how God sees each one of us?

  2. “Some people–believe it or not–pause to find the right word.” I’m also one of those. That split-second pause is enough for many people to jump in and not let you finish your statement.

    I might also add another point to this fine list: Don’t change topics multiple times without giving the other person an opportunity to interact with what you are saying.

  3. Just wanted to let you know how thankful to God I am for your gifts and ministry!

    I am presently revisiting your apologetics lectures from 2004. Its all very good stuff. Though difficult for my given intellectual capacity. I’ve probably listened to the lectures 5 times. Yes, a little obtuse!

    In short, you’ve taught me how to think rightly regarding the nature of truth. Consequently, that has permeated all of my life( Jesus, family, church, culture etc ).

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