Conversations, as they tend to play out in person, are messy—full of pauses and interruptions and topic changes and assorted awkwardness. But the messiness is what allows for true exchange. It gives participants the time—and, just as important, the permission—to think and react and glean insights. “You can’t always tell, in a conversation, when the interesting bit is going to come,” Turkle says. “It’s like dancing: slow, slow, quick-quick, slow. You know? It seems boring, but all of a sudden there’s something, and whoa.”
My current conversation power move is eye contact. Eye contact. All the time whether I’m speaking or listening. For speaking, my natural state is to look away when I’m talking so I can focus on what I’m attempting to say, but I miss essential nuanced feedback. For listening, eye contact can feel uncomfortable because it can feel like staring, but, again, if you look away, you might miss essential conversational data.