Blog Post

Conversation in the wild

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 26 September 2011



Conversation in the wild
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 135
Posted DateMonday 26 September 2011 10:26 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/services-kcafe ... 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conversation ... 
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conversation ... 
http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/conver ... 
CategoriesConversation; Dialogue

In my knowledge cafes and workshops, a frequent question asked is "what is a conversation". Surprisingly, people cannot agree. Many think an exchange of emails, even SMS messages can be classed as conversations. I disagree.

Browsing the dictionary definitions on the web, conversation clearly involves talking. It is an oral, spoken activity, not a written one

Here is a definition from the Merrian-Webster dictionary: "an oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas"

And another from the Macmillan dictionary: "an informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy"

The key words here are oral, exchange and informal.

So you can have a conversation, face to face, on the phone or via a video link. Anything else such as email, a written letter, or an exchange of IM or SMS messages are not conversations.

I would also add that conversation is highly interactive and takes place in real time - so an exchange of voice messages is also not a conversation.

To my mind, the best conversations are face to face, you need to be able to sense other people in their totality; their dress, their body language, their habits, their perfume or cologne; you need to be able to reach out and touch them even. This you cannot do over the phone or even a video link.

If you want a real human experience it must be literally face to face; body to body. That's the way conversation evolved, long before writing technology, its what us human beings are good at

It's conversation as it exists in the wild.

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

Follow me on Twitter

How to contact me

My Blog

Gurteen Knowledge Community
The Gurteen Knowledge Community
The Gurteen Knowledge Community is a global learning community of over 21,000 people in 160 countries across the world.

The community is for people who are committed to making a difference: people who wish to share and learn from each other and who strive to see the world differently, think differently and act differently.

Membership of the Gurteen Knowledge Community is free.
Knowledge Community


request help
visitor book
Sunday 23 June 2024
05:03 AM GDT