Tuesday, November 1, 2011


There are "rules" to communication. Here are some as addressed in one of my classes.

Tacitly agree to share one another's interests.  We commit our mental resources to attending to our communication partner's message, and respond to the message in a way that furthers the discussion.

Ensure that no single person does all of the talking. We do not dominate the conversation with our own talking, and we don not expect our communication partners to bear the onus of continuing the conversation alone. We share speaking turns.

Participate in choosing what to talk about, and participate in developing the topic. Typically, there is not a "chief" who leads the conversation , and who alone decides what is talked about and how that subject is developed. Rather, all participants play a role, at some point or other, in deciding what is talked about and in shaping the direction in which the discussion progresses.

Take turns in an orderly fashion. Everyone should have a chance to contribute to the conversation, and to end a contribution before someone else begins their speaking turn. This means that interruptions do not occur too often.

Try to be relevant to the topic of conversation. If a conversation is centered on automobiles and someone abruptly begins to talk about a recipe for cornbread, that individual has violated an implicit rule of conversation by not being relevant to the discussion.

Provide enough information to convey a message without being verbose. In a conversation, we expect our communication partners to deliver their message in a fairly succinct way, and in a manner that maintains our interest in listening.

Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with someone who does not "follow" the rules? Tell me about your experience.

1 comment:

Josh Hoyt said...

These are some excellent rules. I think they are a great way to be.