ABC Life on the Art of Small Talk

I found this interesting article on ABC Life by writer Mia Timpano: Is having great conversation a science or an art? Turns out it’s a bit of both.

As someone who obsesses over daily minutiae, I really enjoyed the content. Small talk can be such a culturally-specific and personal thing, with everyone set in their own conversational habits. People certainly differ in the ways that they speak, how long they take to respond and whether they are concise or verbose.

To me, the biggest thing has always been eye contact. Everyone should be comfortable with pauses and extended silence—things can take time to process and the article makes this point very well—but simply hearing isn’t enough. It’s important to show that you’re listening to someone by engaging with them visually and providing real-time feedback.

Not everyone is a keen or enthusiastic interlocutor, however, I certainly think that a percentage of people have become worse in their conversational abilities, due to an over-reliance on smartphones and digital services.

Antipodean Antics

Australian politics has now been a downright mess for a decade, with elected leaders placing more emphasis on personality over policy. Legislation on issues such as energy, immigration, communications and industrial relations (amongst many other things) has lacked any real direction or conviction. Essentially, we have been living with a revolving door of parliamentary mediocrity, with leadership spills in each of the major parties. This time, it seems that Prime Minister Turnbull of the conservative Liberal-National Coalition is facing the chopping block. This fantastic article shared by the ABC from The Conversation details how ideological division and a massive leadership vacuum formed in the modern Liberal Party

ABC News: ‘Why Virtual Assistants Are Predominantly Female’

I have been seeing quite a few tech articles about this recently… all virtual assistants, (with the exception of the customisable Siri) are female. I tried switching to different accents and between the two genders, but always went back to the Australian female Siri. It just felt the most natural and the friendliest to me.

With some academic evidence and commentary, ABC News looked into it a bit more.