How to have an Intellectual Conversation

Whether you are the one who wants to increase the depth of your intellectual conversations or you want to teach your students or children, there are things you need to know:

Learn to have an intellectual conversation.

You can use a resource like the conversation place mat or use some of the free resources I have on my Teachers Pay Teacher page here.  I am a huge fan of using templates and sentence starters.  I have found that if we give the students the words to use then they are able to confidently enter the conversation.

Know that everyone is welcome to join the intellectual conversation.

Are you a fan of music?  Do you know that there is an intellectual conversation going on between musicians? They respond to one another in an album  They respond to rumors or expectations that people have of them. Think Taylor Swift. Intellectual in this sense just means that they are talking about subjects that only a core group of people are involved in and completely understand.

The same type of conversations are happening in the intellectual circles.  College is an opportunity for you to join that conversation.  Everyone is welcome at that circle.  All you need is the words to join.

Learn to ask good questions.

Socrates said, “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”  If Socrates can say that and base his whole intellectual platform on asking questions, you can, too.

If you don’t know what to say, ask a good question. The two here can be used in just about any context.  Try it and see what happens:

  1.  What do you mean by ___?
  2.  How did you learn about ____?

Dale Carnegie’s most famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People focuses a whole chapter on asking questions and listening.  He says that in this hustle and bustle of society, the people who do these two things are uncommon that people are amazed when they find one.  People assume people like this are especially intelligent and great to be around.

For more information on joining the conversation, click here.


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