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What makes conversation invaluable?

From life-changing news, meaningful heart to hearts and inspiring advice, conversation has shaped many important life decisions for people across the UK – but have you ever stopped to ask yourself just why those conversations were so impactful?

Here at Villa Maria, we wanted to put the spotlight on just what it is that makes conversation so invaluable – and great eye contact, good listening skills and avoiding Love Island is high up on the list.

Our UK-wide survey, in partnership with Opinion Matters, has proven that the old adage ‘never talk about money, politics or religion’ might not be the case after all – in fact, over a third of people (35%) think a topic which inspired debate or discussion is the mark of a successful conversation topic.

It doesn’t top family though, the nation’s favourite conversation topic (30%), followed by TV, movies and food – good news for a family-owned business like Villa Maria, as our first chapter stemmed from a family conversation between our founder Sir George Fistonich and his father back in 1961. Conversations over the dinner table have continued to play a crucial role in making the business one of the most successful family-owned wineries in the world.

Less good news for Love Island Fans though as the nation votes this their least favourite conversation topic (40%), closely followed by religion, Donald Trump and celeb gossip.

The Results

Favourite conversation topics:

 

Overall

Men

Women

1

Family

Sport

Family

2

TV

TV

Food

3

Movies

News

Movies

4

Food

Brexit

Friends

5

Sport

Movies

TV

 

Biggest conversation killers are:

 

Overall

Men

Women

1

Love Island

Love Island

Politics

2

Religion

Celeb gossip

Religion

3

Donald Trump

Religion

Donald Trump

4

Celeb gossip

Donald Trump

Brexit

5

Politics

Politics

Love Island

First impressions are important!

When it comes to conversation, you have to hit the mark! Research revealed 1 in 3 Brits only manage 2 minutes before they zone out of a boring conversation completely – although 7% of overly polite Brits would stick it out for 20 minutes or more. Only 12% of Brits would tell someone they weren’t interested in what they were saying – with one in four subtly trying to change the subject, one in five faking an urgent need for the loo and 1 in 20 pretending they’ve spotted someone they know. Other tactics included pretending they’re running late for another engagement, feigning illness and play-acting their phone is ringing.

First impressions

First impressions are important!

When it comes to conversation, you have to hit the mark! Research revealed 1 in 3 Brits only manage 2 minutes before they zone out of a boring conversation completely – although 7% of overly polite Brits would stick it out for 20 minutes or more. Only 12% of Brits would tell someone they weren’t interested in what they were saying – with one in four subtly trying to change the subject, one in five faking an urgent need for the loo and 1 in 20 pretending they’ve spotted someone they know. Other tactics included pretending they’re running late for another engagement, feigning an illness and play-acting their phone is ringing.

Nobody likes a know-it-all

Although 39% of people think a successful conversation has to be on a happy subject, one third of Brits like to get their teeth into something that inspires discussion and debate – but only 15% want to get on to controversial matters. 50% think the subject should be something everyone present can get involved in, such as a mutual interest. A conversationalist everyone has come up against is the “know-it-all” – and 13% of people think a successful conversation should be on a subject they know more about than any of the people they’re speaking with.

Eyes are the windows to the soul!

Conversations go beyond just the spoken word, however. Half of Brits say maintaining good eye contact is vital to a good chat – but only 1 in 10 say expressive hand gestures are helpful. Keeping the conversation flowing proved to be a huge concern, with over a quarter of us admitting awkward silences are our biggest fear in social situations.

Knowing that many more important, meaningful and friendship affirming conversations take place over a glass of wine, we will be running a series of expert talks with talented conversationalists, dedicated to exploring the value of conversations.

Conversational skills are an important aspect of all of our lives, yet in the modern environment, its value may sometimes be neglected. Through the series of ‘Wine Down with Villa Maria’ events, special guests with conversation at the forefront of their lives and professions share their priceless expertise and experiences, to show the true value of conversation.

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