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What’s the difference between a conversation and a meeting? To me, it’s about intent. Meetings have a specific purpose, where conversations often have no set goal. And that’s the value of them.

Conversations are organic. There is no expectation on anyone to lead the discussion, no one has to prove themselves, it’s just chat.

So many times, we have found a new idea, been introduced to a new perspective, or made a new connection through genuine, zero-pressure conversation. But not always. That’s the key to conversation. No expectations.

Making time for conversations

Last year, HC celebrated 21 years in business and we set ourselves a 21st birthday theme for the year. It was nice to have some shape around where we focused, so at the end of 2023 we sat down to chat about what our theme for 2024 might be (yep, that one was a meeting). As we talked about what energised us and inspired us we realised that conversations was the right theme for 2024.

We’re not going to kill what’s great about true conversations by setting rules and KPIs, but we are going to give ourselves permission to get together with interesting people, attend events and engage without always having a specific goal in mind – instead just allowing ideas to percolate, ferment, and bubble up to the surface.

A recent convo

A few weeks ago our team went to lunch with Sally White. We’ve known Sally since she was editor of The Land, but she’s since gone on to a long list of incredible roles, including Chief of Staff to the Deputy Premier and now leading comms and customer engagement for City of Parramatta Council.

We had a fantastic and wide-ranging chat about everything from life with toddlers to prepping for media crises to the second Sydney airport and what might come out of the Senate Inquiry into supermarkets.

At the end of our lunch (at one of our favourite local Parramatta cafes, Urban Jungle), we had lots of new things to think about, and a new contact to set up another chat with – but even if we hadn’t walked away with next steps in mind, it STILL would have been valuable because it gave us a chance to catch up with a longstanding connection.

Tips for conversation

Here are a few of the things we are trying to keep in mind when we have conversations with people:

  • You don’t have to seek out people who seem to have shared interests. Chatting with people who move in entirely different circles is great brain food, and it’s amazing how often unexpected connections emerge.
  • The conversation is the goal. If the only thing you have achieved at the end of the conversation is to have the conversation – that’s a good outcome.
  • Be curious and open. Don’t try to connect the pieces too early. Just wander the path with your partner in conversation and see where it leads you.

Want to have a conversation with us? We’d love to catch up. Drop us a line – [email protected]

Kendi Burness-Cowan