This morning I read Sherry Turkle’s article, “The Flight from Conversation,” in the New York Times. She writes about how technology has become both this amazing and immediate way of being in communication with one another, yet also has become the safety glass behind which we can easily hide. She warns us against the demise of the art of conversation.

Ms. Turkle’s words, however, took me far beyond the art of conversation to the art of relationship. Certainly the art of conversation is one part of the larger art of relationship. And the art of conversation is a great way to start building relationships. How we engage in that conversation – how much we are willing to open ourselves and be fully present in our authentic selves and in a flow with the other person or group – determines whether we are just having a conversation or whether we are building a relationship. It’s not about the topic as much as it about the presence and the level of engagement. Deeper relationship is ultimately an energetic heart connection with another. And it is through open-hearted presence that transformation can most easily occur. This is one of the foundations of Transformational Presence Leadership and Coach Training.

Being open, authentic, and creating a heart connection does not have to mean revealing deeply personal things. It just means meeting the other person heart to heart, essence to essence, as the ground on which you engage with one another. Nothing “personal” needs necessarily to be revealed. What is important is that whatever is said and whatever gesture is made comes from a place of authenticity and truth – in short, that the “real” you is showing up. And that you invite that same level of engagement and communication from others as well.

Transformation happens through relationship – relationships with other people, with ideas, with beliefs, with organizations and institutions, with ourselves. Relationships of all kinds are the building blocks of our personal lives, cultures, organizations, businesses, governments. Learning how to be with one another, with ideas, with beliefs and practices, from a place of our own open-hearted, authentic presence is indeed a first step in doing our part to create a world that works.

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