“It seemed rather incongruous that in a
society of supersophisticated communication, we often suffer from a shortage of
listeners.” — Erma Bombeck


You have many conversations under a variety of circumstances.
Some are pleasant and others are challenging, some are easy and others are
frustrating. The latter are just like Kurt Vonnegut said, “People have to talk
about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order, so they’ll
have good voice boxes in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say;”
but what if there was at least one situation where you could be assured that
the conversation would always be pleasant and easy, never challenging or
frustrating?


Terrific news! A friend has discovered just such a situation. He
has a brick on his desk that is the perfect conversationalist. Now, his brick
is not merely a run-of-the-mill brick and you will need to go to considerable
effort to find one like it for your desk.


It’s a brick with bumps on it that is made specially for
sidewalk curbs so blind people can “feel” when they are near the corner. As you
can tell, this is a very special brick that was made to help.


Here’s what my friend discovered. His special brick is even more
helpful than its creators envisioned. He learned this after one of those
challenging, frustrating conversations with an associate. Once the person left
his office, he was reminded of something his father said about him when he was
about twelve. His father said, “I swear, sometimes talking to you is like
talking to a brick.” He doesn’t recall what the conversation was about but does
remember that insightful observation.


Back to the brick. When he was at last alone in his office, he
thought he would see if talking to a brick was as productive as the
conversation he had just had with his associate. Anyway, here’s what he
learned.


Talking to a brick can be most satisfying. These are the top ten
reasons why a conversation with a brick is at least as pleasant as talking with
some folks. – You know who they are, don’t you?


1. A brick doesn’t get agitated and never yells.


2. A brick doesn’t interrupt you.


3. A brick doesn’t disagree or argue.


4. A brick doesn’t think it’s smarter than you are.


5. A brick doesn’t roll its eyes and look at the ceiling.


6. A brick is trying to be helpful or at least to not screw
things up.


7. A brick is not in a hurry and trying to rush you.


8. A brick doesn’t care if you interrupt your conversation to
take a phone call.


9. A brick is always there when you need to talk.


10. A brick isn’t trying to get you to do anything.


What do you think? Does talking to a brick beat conversations
you have to have with a few of “those” people who happen to walk into your
office? If so, all you need to do is find your own special brick, with bumps on
it, and converse at your leisure.