Thoughts on Conversation as Connection


Conversation is the most natural, effective, yet most complex vehicle that has the potential to lead to human connection. The goal of conversation is understanding between participants.

Understanding in communication is how we behave in front of a translation. We focus and we relax, we zoom in and out at the same time. We entertain the million thoughts and assumptions in our minds while the visual and auditory messages hit us.

The ingredients of a conversation:

1. The content  — what you say. Although this comprises only about 7% of what we pay attention to, it still matters.

2. The process — how you say it. It is estimated that 55% of the process is carried through by nonverbal communication with 38% being the vocal tone alone.

3. The timing — when you say it. This influences greatly how we process information.

4. By far the most important is permission. Are we talking with each other or at each other?

Out lives are based on our ability to communicate.

The meaning of communication is the response it elicits, not the intention. This relates to the Latin root of conversation as sermo. If we look at one of the ancient Greek words for conversation diatribe comes up, which means use of time, occupation, dialogue.

Conversation is a space where relationships are managed.

These relationships may be sudden and invisible to many — relationships between people, problems, solutions, processes, objects, and all of these and many more together. When attention and authenticity accompany the message we shorten the distance in these relationships as we create something new.

It is interesting to observe here that the other Latin word for conversation is colloquium, which implies a more intimate setting. This became the English colloquial and German umgangssprachlich, which literally means of every day.

Communication has Latin root in communicatio as well as one in commercium or exchange between people. The ancient Greeks called this omilia, which also meant commerce, relationship, intimacy.

Our brain is an associative network.

It means that our memories record not just the specific details of events, but also our feelings about them. So when it is under the influence of one emotion, it habitually makes connections to past events that triggered that same emotional response.

Emotions affect the way we feel, but they also affect the way we remember. When we relive a memory, we make a new memory in the process, with new connections.

We like twists in a story because we are wired to remember novelty, to recall events that somehow deviate from our expectations.

Our brains have a biologically grounded interest in surprise. Add to the mix considerations around context, cultural differences, social circumstances, and environmental noise and you see how making a connection is indeed a very powerful proposition. 


[edited from archives]

[image courtesy]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.

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