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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 3 million readers. As featured on: CBS, BBC, NPR, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

7 Ways to Make Conversations Meaningful Using Minimalism

Woman's Talking Mouth

Our relationships are one of the most important aspects of living a meaningful life. Conversing with a close friend can be one of the most meaningful experiences we have. And yet we often don’t value these conversations like we should, we don’t pay enough attention to the important people around us.

Just like we use minimalism to get rid of excess stuff in favor of essential things, we can use it to rid ourselves of superfluous conversation in favor of essential, meaningful conversation.

7 Ways to Make Conversations Meaningful

1. Make your words count. There is no need to count your words, just make sure they count. You can make sure your words add value to your conversations. It is important to be acutely aware of what you are saying and, more importantly, why you are saying it.

2. Expand your vocabulary. An extensive vocabulary allows you to be more precise, and precision allows you to better convey what you mean in a short span.

3. Be succinct. Brevity is the soul of wit.

4. Avoid unnecessary conversations. Our words become sloppy when we are forced to partake to a multitude of unnecessary conversations each day. Many of these conversations can be avoided or radically attenuated. Can you think of more than one conversation you could have avoided or shortened yesterday? What could you have done to avoid that conversation?

5. Converse more with loved ones. The people who really matter in your life—your friends, family, and love ones—deserve quality conversation from you. By ridding yourself of the aforementioned unnecessary conversations, you can allocate more time to converse with your loved ones and establish deeper connections.

6. Listen more than you talk. It sounds cliché to say this, but some of the most profound truths are found in clichés. This happens to be one of those profound truths. Listening—honest, attentive listening—is not easy, and it doesn’t come naturally to most. Thus, we must make an effort to listen when we are engaged in meaningful conversation.

7. Ask and listen. An easy way to be an engaged listener is to ask and listen. This allows you to actively participate in the listening process by asking interesting questions and allowing the other person to respond uninterrupted (N.B. The quality of your questions is paramount here).

What other ways do you improve the quality of your conversations?