Why do some conversations flow, while others are stilted and awkward? Can we make difficult conversations easier?
Conversation is about more than communication. It’s how we connect with each other and make sense of the world – it’s an essential part of being human. And something we're naturally very good at.
Robert Poynton explores and celebrates this "everyday miracle hiding in plain sight". By drawing on many rich and diverse conversations, he offers simple ways to hone our natural skills to overcome anxiety, converse more skillfully and have more meaningful exchanges. In Do Conversation, you will:
Discover it's not about being clever, witty, or winning arguments
Learn to listen and hold space
Create the conditions for more fruitful conversations
Understand how a bit of simple structure can help
Conversation is more than light-hearted chat or formal discussions. It's a highly responsive, improvised exchange that leads to new ideas, deeper relationships, and a better world. Let's talk!
Robert Poynton divides his time between an off-grid house in rural Spain and Oxford, where he is an Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College and the Säid Business School. At Oxford University his work is practical, not academic – he designs and runs executive education programmes, helping senior leaders understand and work with complex change via a playful approach drawn from the methodology of improvisational theatre. His own clients include the BBC, Chanel, Merck and Unilever.
He is also co-founder of Yellow Learning and On Your Feet, an improv-based consultancy in Portland, OR. He has spoken and led workshops at The Skoll World Forum, The D-School at Stanford University, Singularity University, and The DO Lectures. He is the author of Do Pause (2019) and Do Conversation (2024).
"Wise, inspirational and empowering, Do Conversation is one of the finest things I've read about this foundational human practice. Poynton shows how the best conversations are a dance of attention, generosity and pleasure – and what it might mean for us all to weave them more richly through our lives." – Dr Tom Chatfield, tech philosopher & author of Wise Animals