TED Conversations

Guillaume Regis

Brand Director, Lisa Redman

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How many genuine conversations do you have with a stranger each day?

I mean genuinely how many do you have? Im not talking about a conversation with a likeminded person or someone from a similar background or age on campus. Im not talking about that new person who just started working on your team, I mean a person who you would not under normal circumstances talk to. I was in a fish and chip shop the other day, and struck up a conversation with a man about the quality of the chips and the best places in London for them. We spoke of how the potatoes must be Maris Piper and the oil peanut, we also spoke of the crispness and how crispy the batter must ideally be. It would be hard to say that this gentleman and I had nothing in common, yes we were from different ethnicites and backgrounds yet both of us 'native' born and bred Londoners.
I though about the question because since I have become a father many people who I think may not have spoken to me now do.

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    Nov 15 2011: I feel that on TED I have many really amazing, inspiring, challenging conversations with 'strangers' almost everyday. I am deeply grateful for the chance to do so. In my everyday life, I normally meet many people everyday in business. Those conversations are so superficial ultimately. After a few meetings I do get a chance to reach beyond the intial fascade and make connections with people's hearts, learning about what is important to them even though it is not exactly 'my job'. However, I believe with all my heart that making that greater connections helps people really know that I am someone who is trustworthy in business as well.

    I am a person who lives as transparently as I know how to and I want to reach out to others but it is not something that everyone is interested in or willing to, or able to do and I find that I crave that kind of connection. TED fills that need in me.
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    Nov 14 2011: Are you kidding me... Americans never talk to anyone they don't already know... This makes social navigation rather difficult, as, of course one would assume, that we've all been strangers to everyone for at least one moment in our lives. Basically we act like celebrities who haven't done anything, constantly advertising our pedestrian activities to the various pictures on our social networking sites. Going to a restaurant in general makes us feel a little bit socially anxious, and often requires several psychiactric medications, provided one makes enough to afford them. In the absence of a stable job, an American can feel free to substitute liquor or marijuana for afformentioned medicine, with little or no social consequences.

    Strangely enough we do love to talk when we travel. It's almost as if even we find the company of people from any country other than America preferrable to our own... In doing so, I have noticed that in other countries you seem slightly less afraid of people you haven't met. At local pubs, I even found people moving freely from one table to another, almost as if the establishment was designed to encourage a form of primitive social networking... Here we surround ourselves in caves called booths with only small groups of work associates, and ignore people who flirt with us... like normal people.

    Hi I'm Dave... I like to write when I'm bored, and have enjoyed many a friendly conversation while abroad, or in unusual surroundings... but not so much in my home. I joke about it being American, but it's more likely cognitive, someone I know, could see me in my unusual icebreaker phase of the conversation, and I could make a fool of myself. An irrational fear, that I think all people must overcome in order to succeed, though I'm not sure the internet simulation of said encounter, is anywhere near as usefull emotionally as the real thing.

    In short, at best once every couple days, but there's no reason it shouldn't be more Guillame.
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      Nov 14 2011: I was in Greensboro NC with my mum a few years ago and I found that lots of people spoke to us, especially when they heard the accent. I did find in my travels in the US that people are generally more talkative than the UK and probably the rest of Europe
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        Nov 15 2011: Interesting... As much as I was joking and exaggerating... I found the opposite. Somewhat supports my theory though, that you're a more outgoing person as an individual when you're overseas... You're looking for people to talk to, you're interested in a new experience, so people respond well to you, if not seek you out.

        Also I would sugest that Amerca has three regions, as it comes to talking to strangers. The west coast is really friendly, but superficial, and lazy, they'll talk about things that don't matter for hours. The east coast intellectual elitists will have fascinating conversations with you, or none at all, they're snobs, but they like to talk about things, and if you don't get on their bad side it's great fun. And in the south, or basically anywhere, but the major cities... people are just sweet as apple pie out here.

        God forbid you get them started on religion, politics, or science, cus they're some of the dumbest and most stubborn people on the planet, a terrible combination... but they really do mean well and all 200 people in the town know each other, and don't know you, and damned if they don't really want to meet ya, shake yer hand, and get to know ya. Nicest people you'll ever meet in the south, such a tragedy they get represented by people like George Bush : p
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      Nov 13 2011: Hello Ed,

      Pleasure to make your aquaintance yes it looks as if you will be the only poster!
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          Nov 14 2011: Im not sure if curry is the most popular because people like to put curry sauce on their chips, I like it with added salt and vinegar!