The Challenges of Conversation (Part 1)


The Challenges of Conversation (Part 1)

,,Conversations’’ of various types occur in every species ,and some animals, such as dolphins and chimpanzees have sophisticated  systems of communication. But no matter what they say another, animals very rarely misunderstand each other. Their messages are clear and unmistakable.


On the other hand, human conversation is on easily misunderstood because all the participants have to agree on the meaning of the words themselves and be aware of the context in which the words occur. At the same time, they have the read the tacit language of facial expressions, gestures, and body positions.

Sometimes we attach too much importance to one facet of the conversation (,, I don’t like that tone of the voice") while not attending to the message itself.

More than Talk

Although all human conversation is talk, not all talk is conversation. To have a real conversation, several components must be in place:

- At least other person
- Civility
- Reciprocity
- Nonverbal elements
- Something new
- An interest in other
- Trust

At Least One Other Person

When we talk to ourselves, we may get very intelligent answers, but thrashing out issues aloud or rehearsing what we’re going to say to someone in a particular situation qualifies as interior monologue, not conversation. Because conversation involves sharing ideas, there must be somebody else present, no matter how brilliant you are in your head.


A conversation is an exchange by people with an interest in pleasant discourse. There may be disagreement in a conversation, and that disagreement may at times be heated, but if the conversation strays from civility –if name-calling, insults, and disrespect become part of equation –then the conversation has degenerated into diatribe or even to verbal abuse.


A conversation involves a back-and-forth interchange of words and ideas. If one person dominates the arena, the conversation becomes a lecture, presentation, oration, or one-person show in which the others involved serve only as an audience. Of course, some people are quiet by nature choose to speak less than others, but the choice must be theirs. If they can’t speak because another person is hogging the floor, then conversation has ceased.

 Conversational partners can sense when the rule of reciprocity is being violated. The  conversation feels out of whack, and one or both  will usually  try to put it back in balance with a phrase such as, ,,What you’re saying reminds me…’’or ,,I’ve been talking a lot .I want to hear about you now’’.

Word to the Wise

Every conversation has at least four participants: you as speaker, you as listener, and the other person as both speaker and listener. All four of you need to be involved in the conversation.


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