On what your conversation topics say about you…

I’ve been thinking about how our CONVERSATION TOPICS  say a lot about us.  (How “meta,” right? ?)

So what do YOU talk about?

Two weeks ago I blogged about how RACISM has quickly evolved from a taboo conversation topic to a common conversation topic – something we need to talk about – proactively and explicitly.

Read on to learn:

  • Talking about racial injustice – what people are saying and pointers if you’re unsure where to start 

  • How our conversation topics implicitly communicate things about us

Let’s do this!

Conversation topics: RACIAL INJUSTICE

Have you heard that “silent non-racist” is an oxymoron?

conversation topics: #BLM We wont't be silent

(image unsplash @ claybanks)

conversation topics: say their names,  #BLM

Photo: Godofredo A. Vásquez, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Everyone is talking! From white celebrities to black celebrities, from left to right leaning media, from athletes to professional sports organizationsand from ice cream makers to sportswear manufacturers. 

conversation topics: racial injustice

(image unsplash @ claybanks)

A few pointers if you’re a white person who’s unsure about where to start:

  • READ a book about racism or white privilege or by a black author, be it historical or contemporary
  • JOIN (or start) a “Diversity Committee” at work
  • SUPPORT selectively. Don’t work for companies that aren’t diverse.  And certainly don’t buy from them!
  • TALK proactively and explicitly about race with your co-workers, your kids, and your friends – of all colours

Other Conversation Topics

Other than the weather, there are very few benign conversation topics.

conversation topics: the weather

(image unsplash @ sixstreetunder)

I just had a conversation with a neighbour who is also a great friend. We can talk for hours.  What’s our typical conversation topic? It’s typically our careers!  

This conversation topic of careers has definitely affected my perception of her.  She is ambitious, smart, and thoughtful. Would I think the same of her if we’d been talking about pop culture?

What do you think about people who talk about pop culture?  (Beyoncé?  Miley Cyrus? TikTok? The latest TV shows?)  Maybe: “She’s youthful and in-the-know,”  or it could be, “He’s low-brow.” 

Gender, Branding & the Modern Music Industry by Kristin Lieb

Of course, it also depends on how  you talk about a topic.  Kristin Lieb, the professor I interviewed for next week’s podcast on “Female Pop Stars and Archetypes” certainly has a sophisticated take on pop stars and pop culture!

That said, there is little doubt that our conversation topics – WHAT we talk about – affects what others think about us.

Consider the purpose of the conversation as well as your relationship with the other(s). Whether you’re talking with your co-workers, your bookclub, or your neighbour, the CONVERSATION TOPICS you bring up say a lot.

Consider, for example, what these CONVERSATION TOPICS may implicitly communicate:

CONVERSATION TOPIC: House renovations

  • “I need to vent because I’m overwhelmed.”
  • “I’m bragging.  Aren’t I so rich/fortunate?”

CONVERSATION TOPIC: A great restaurant 

  • “You might like it too!”
  • “That’s my ego talking. I’m pretty good at choosing restaurants! I’m a ‘restaurant-expert'”. (***This was my dissertation research topic! ?

The lesson is simple: 

Be aware of your conversation topics.  


As always, I welcome your suggestions, feedback and comments anytime. I ❤️ love hearing from you! Please email me or connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter.

Speaking of haring from you, I want to thank you for all the positive feedback regarding the last two ?podcasts on LEADERSHIP with Heather Stark. I appreciate her general leadership advice and her specific advice on crisis leadership and managing virtual teams. (If only I had  a dollar for very time the “energy sandwich” has come up since that first episode!) And I appreciate your feedback!

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