…and more creative ones…

Keith Sawyer, author of  Group Genius, has written about  a study* that shows happier people spend more time in deep, substantial conversations. The researchers asked 79 undergraduates to wear a specially designed digital audio recorder. Every 12 1/2 minutes, the recorder turned itself on and recorded exactly 30 seconds of audio. Each person wore the recorder for four days, resulting in a mountain of data. The research team listened to every single 30-second clip, and marked whether the person was alone, or was engaged in a conversation. And if they were conversing, the research team marked whether the conversation was “uninvolved and banal” or whether it was “an involved conversation of a substantive nature.” Then, they had all 79 people complete a questionnaire about their level of happiness (psychologists have several standard measures for “subjective well being”) and also complete a personality trait questionnaire.

The results:

Happier people spend less time alone and more time talking with others. And happier people spent less time in small talk, and more time in substantive conversations.

Compared to the most unhappy people, the happiest people spent 25% less time alone, 70% more time talking, and twice as much time in substantive conversations!

Sawyers says, “This study reminded me of my 2001 book  Creating Conversations, which explores the creativity of everyday conversation. Creativity researchers have found a connection between engaging in creative acts and increased happiness, and good conversations are deeply creative, so this new study confirms what we know about creativity and conversation.”

I agree. We also need healthy relationships, characterised by empathy and trust, to engage in creative conversations and collaboration. Happy People  Have Better Conversations continues here.

*Eavesdropping on Happiness : Well-Being Is Related to Having Less Small Talk and More Substantive Conversations. Mehl, Vazire, Holleran, & Clark, Psychological Science, 2010, 21, 539.

Conversations As Catalysts For Transformation

We facilitate strategy meetings, brainstorming sessions, and dialogue by creating an inviting environment for open discussion and fresh thinking that draws out the collective wisdom of the group. We help groups stay focused, ensure everyone is seen, heard and understood, and we facilitate progress towards achieving a satisfying outcome. We incorporate the principles of World Café, Appreciative Inquiry and Design Thinking when hosting meetings.

storytelling and other arts to improve teamwork
is an excellent resource for facilitating creative conversations, arts-based dialogue and collaboration.