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It’s been exceedingly hot here in Texas the past few weeks. So when I’m not out on an early morning walk, working at my desk, or at the gym, I’ve been experimenting with what’s called a Gelli plate. This is a portable, semi-squishy plastic plate you use to make interesting prints of all kinds. These can be elaborately layered images that are pieces of art unto themselves or simply unusual textures you can use later for collages. I admit I have made more of the latter and only a few of the former. It has been a fun exercise in learning, experimentation, and viewing failures as “happy accidents.”  It has also sparked many inspiring conversations with friends, old and new, who also play with a Gelli plate.

I’m sharing all this because today’s post is a snippet from my new book More Than Just Talk: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Enjoy Better Conversations.  If at any time in your day you are working on a creative project, tasked with developing new ideas, or faced with an array of vexing challenges, you may find this excerpt useful.

From More Than Just Talk (pg 44):

Next time you’re “stuck” on a project or feeling burned out or creatively challenged, schedule a visit – in person or by phone – with someone you know, like, and trust.

  • Tell them what you’re working on (or let them see it).
  • Ask what constructive thoughts they have for you.
  • Just as important:  Discuss unplanned and unrelated topics.

For example:

  • Share news and stories.
  • Vent a little.
  • Find things to laugh about.
  • Meander across random topics.
  • Let the conversation flow.

See what transpires afterwards.

  • How do you feel?
  • How’s your energy level?
  • What has shifted?
  • Have any new ideas emerged?
  • What are you able to accomplish?

You may discover that you feel totally refreshed and renewed. And you may have gained some valuable new perspectives, ideas, and solutions. This is no accident. There is neuroscience behind this. By talking about both your creative challenge AND other topics you not only gain new ideas and perspectives, your brain loosens up considerably. This is the very reason why groups of all kinds form: artists’ groups, writers’ groups, quilting groups, book groups, and even….professional  associations!

As you use the summer months ahead to enjoy your favorite pastimes or work on professional projects, please don’t forget the value that conversations can bring to the party. (Yes, even if you’re an introvert!)  In fact, why not schedule and host a little gathering with others who share your interests?  Enjoy some inspiring and refreshing conversations to beat the summer heat.

Want to learn more about the many ways conversation can enhance your life and work?  Grab your own copy of More Than Just Talk from BookPeople in Austin or from your favorite online book retailer.  For bulk orders and discounts, contact me directly at