Blog Post

Conversation is more than communication

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 28 January 2015



Conversation is more than communication
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 175
Posted DateWednesday 28 January 2015 10:46 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

Face to face Conversation is far more than just communication. When we have a Conversation we don't just exchange information. That's what computers do. It's not what people do. People filter, interpret and elaborate on what they hear.

Everyone does this differently. Two people can hear the same thing and take away very different ideas. In fact, we actually have little idea what others really takeaway from a conversation or what they are thinking.

Conversation is spontaneous and dynamic. It is not planned or scheduled. We don't plan our response to something that someone says - it emerges spontaneously. The Conversation can be thought of as being in charge. Conversation takes us where it wants to go.

Conversation is shaped by our moods. A conversation held one day will take a very different path and have very different outcomes compared to the same conversation on another day.

The environment in which a conversation is held also has an impact on the actual conversation. Conversation held in a quiet room will take a very different form to one in a noisy cafe or one on the train on a boat or in a car or while walking.

And it's not just the words spoken that form the communication. The speed and volume of delivery, the tone and the emotion in the voice shapes the meaning of the words conveyed. And the eyes and the smile convey so much along with other body language.

We have evolved to be very sensitive to body language and can detect deceit, lies, stress and other underlying emotions. Someone said to me recently "I don't quite trust her, she smiles far too much when I talk with her."

Conversation can inspire and motivate us or it can depress and turn us off.

In conversation, we make new connections in our minds and our thinking can be triggered down entirely new paths. It's probably not an exaggeration to say that a good conversation can entirely change our lives though such conversations are rare and we hardly ever recognise the long-term impact of the conversation at the time.

A single conversation or a series of conversations over a period of time can have a huge impact on us. We start to make different decisions not realising the influence that earlier conversations have had on us. A conversation held today is heavily influenced by conversations held in the past.

Conversations shape and mould our minds and thus our thinking and the decisions that we make. Conversation shapes our lives.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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