The Lost Art of a Conversation

Where did they go? Those often rare, but oh so important face-to-face conversations? In today’s social media world, tragically they are quickly becoming a lost art. So I’d like to share a story about why, whether in business or perhaps more importantly in the political realm a “real” conversation still works and works well.

This week my firm had the privilege of facilitating a Legislative Roundtable with Florida State Representative David Santiago (R-27). The goal was to bring him together with local elected officials, citizen advocates and members of the business community to build relationships. But it was also to have a candid conversation about the issues affecting his district and Volusia County.

The official meeting lasted an hour with a frank Q&A, and a brainstorming opportunity. After it concluded, the Representative stayed and talked one-on-one with participants for another 20-30 minutes. Out of this conversation ideas were “hatched” to further collaboration amongst state and local governments, and issues were brought to the Representative’s attention. And perhaps the best part of the meeting…relationships got stronger.

AND he was so impressed with the outcome, he asked us to  host another Roundtable after the November election, to which we readily agreed of course! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

This happened because everyone sat down together FACE-TO-FACE and had an actual conversation! The dialogue that occurred would not have transpired otherwise. And as these new ideas are pursued, everyone who attended can now “put a face on the issue” and remember where it began.  Maybe I’m a bit old school, but I never see this happen through email or text messages.

Technology definitely makes it much easier for us to keep in touch and communicate quickly. But I would challenge anyone who believes it can replace a face-to-face conversation.

So as advocates,  over the next few months make time for a “sit down” with your lawmakers while they’re still at home in their districts. Whether it’s an opportunity to get to know them and their staff, or to discuss specific concerns…there’s nothing like seeing their reaction, looking them in the eye and talking candidly. I guarantee it will reap huge benefits as you find ways to strengthen your relationships.

Your Partner in Advocacy…Kathy