Posts tagged ‘conversation’

How to love communication

Normally, there is this need for expression that drives one to write. At the moment, I really don’t want to share anything. It’s strange to do things you don’t want to just for some wrong impression of a better feeling. Alright, so you feel bad and don’t want to do anything. Don’t blabber around. Don’t write if you don’t want to.

Three days later..
It’s important to notice when you’re even annoying yourself. Sometimes, there’s nothing to talk about. No, in fact there’s always something, but most of the time it’s just not the right audience we’re talking to. And sure: yourself is your best audience. That’s the reason we should rarely only speak with ourselves. We just wouldn’t notice if we were boring, spoke inarticulately or didn’t process any output signal at all.
To speak to others brings huge benefits. With a lot of our senses we can sense reactions. We can feel that our thoughts can make a difference. Feedback is what we should always care about. Even if we feel ignored it’s a valuable impression. That’s why lectures get better the more often we give them. Except maybe, if the audience stays the same. That is another problem for ourselves which can be helped by changing our own point of view as often but also as aware of it as we possibly can and can be.

Life is an awesome journey between imaginary places.
Communication is our machete, our bridge and our rope.


November 13, 2008 at 6:48 pm Leave a comment

Talking about nothing

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” – Plato

To talk only for the sake of communication itself seems pretty unnecessary for some people. Well, it probably is. But there is more to it than most may realise. Small talk is like grooming. Primates form bonds of trust and build cooperation groups. They groom each other to get food, sex or other favours.
Maybe we don’t go that far just with small talk but it’s in a way the best option to start a conversation to get to know each other. The special thing about this form of phatic expressions is that it serves to find a way to communicate. It’s about evaluating the spoken language, style and level. Some do this even only to overcome a waiting time or an uncomfortable silence. Imagine two computers just connecting to say ‘hi, how you’re doin’?’ – sounds a bit pathetic, doesn’t it?

In general, there are the following categories of conversations based upon their involved topics: ideas, concrete objects and facts, people, the self. Their different purposes are: extend understanding and awareness, consolidate a general view, boosting of self esteem, attracting attention. Anyway, to start talking about something with somebody, you might want to consider a topic that’s neutral, without heavy personal information and hard questions. Make the talking part easy by staying simple!

June 30, 2008 at 9:56 pm Leave a comment

Lapsus Linguae

“When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.” – Samuel Goldwyn (assumed)

Language is fun. You can do almost anything with words. Even if they come out wrong they still make sense. When you know how to communicate on the exact right level, you’re able to achieve most things. As with many other areas ‘the more you know – the better you can handle situations’ counts. The better you understand, the more you can make yourself and your arguments understandable. It’s like a pool with waves representing statements. A good recipient takes a wave, balances it, and returns a compensated one back to its sender.

Now, it’s fun when it comes to humorous statements resulting from the use of paradoxes. Some Goldwynisms (Samuel Goldwyn, producer for motion picture studios from the ’20s to the ’50s) I recommend:
I don’t want any yes-men around me. I want everyone to tell the truth – even though it costs him his job.
Tell them to stand closer apart.
You fail to overlook the crucial point.
I’ll give you a definite maybe.
Include me out.
Then there are the Yogiisms (baseball player Peter Berra around the ’50s and ’60s) featuring oxymoronic redundancies.
Ninety percent of this game is half mental.
Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.
It’s like déjà vu all over again.
It ain’t over till it’s over.
Other malapropisms known as Farberisms (after David Farber, IT scientist since the ’50s and lecturer afterwards) are illogical and non sequitur statements.
That solution fills a much needed gap.
It’s the vilest smell I ever heard.
Let them fry in their socks.
You can also have much fun with Spoonerisms (by William Spooner, priest and lecturer around the beginning of the 19th century). That works in various languages and combinations.
Let us glaze our asses to the queer old Dean. (raise our glasses .. dear old Queen)
We’ll have the hags flung out. (flags hung)
Kentucky schreit ficken. (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
Go and shake a tower. (take a shower)

June 27, 2008 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

How to be objective

Normally, I’d like to say that there are always two ways: the friendly one and the honest one. Nonetheless, when it comes to be factually there seems to be not so much of a choice. In the sense of communication objectivity can only be achieved by knowing how both, transmitter and receiver, are going to understand a specific message. For humans that is hard indeed, cause there are no strict standards for conversations.
If you just think about some factors like speed, tone, word order, facial expression a lot of possible and different statements can be created even with the same words. As for the message itself, always problematic are for example comparisons, clauses and restrictions. The phrase ‘I like you, but..’ has always a kind of a killer effect. One reason may be that the but-part is the exception to which is usually given more weight.

Another problem shows up when people realise something said might be misunderstood. They switch into defensive mode and that just has to seem like you’re wrong for your conversational counterpart. Even with words less is often more. Skip the unnecessary filler words. Objectivity in the understanding within a group of more than two people would be real luck. You’re sometimes better off by not even trying to find a common communication standard. It takes a lot of time, it’s never guaranteed and most people don’t listen to you anyway.
The answer is: ‘what was the question again’!

February 28, 2008 at 7:16 pm 3 comments

Thinking witty

Are you quick at repartee? How do you respond to someone asking “What’s up loser”? Is that where you draw your punchline? Some might say that it doesn’t matter what other potential mentally less gifted individuals loose orally. Besides their filthy slobber. And they’re right. It doesn’t change their way along the gutter. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to respond for the sake of our adaptability to the most obscure events. If it did hurt in the end – well, I was just suggesting.
Depending on the threats you may focus, possible reactions could be: “Wait, are you talking with your mouth or are you just losing fluids?” (could lead to confrontation); “Oh, dirt learned talking!” (you may want to learn karate first); “The same as yesterday, while you were cleaning the lavatory and I was doing the dirty work to make you uncle!” (for the smart and intellectual stop of this conversation); Whatever comes out of your mouth should be spontaneous. To say deliberately nothing and just keep going on with your actual business is also a nice way to show gruel ignorance. Because, let’s be honest, most questions are powered by the need for confrontation.

One neat example is attributed to Winston Churchill who gave Nancy Astor, who said to him “If I were your wife, I’d put arsenic in your coffee” the following response “And if I were your husband, I would drink it”. This demonstrates very nice how fast you can turn an argument around without leaving much opening for another tit-for-tat response.
Don’t take life too seriously, death is anyway!

February 13, 2008 at 8:24 pm 1 comment

To let the silence talk

A fascinating thing about human communication is the variation we can find in personal interpretations even if the message is ever so explicit. One problem may be to find in the broad spectrum of different meanings of many words and expressions. Another, quite important aspect lies within the unsaid statements. The power of the underlying message. Sounds boring? Well, not necessarily. It takes an experienced listener to read between the lines but it needs an extraordinary thinker to speak through the arising silence.
And I’m not even talking about body language yet. It’s just about the breaks between the words. Many things rely on them. You can give someone a really uncomfortable feeling. More importantly, you’re able to build up tension. As I see it, many things are just results of silence. A hug, a kiss, a slap in the face.

But be aware! Tension tries to increase the value of the subsequent information. Good things get better and bad things will feel even worse. In general, breaks are useful. You can think about what to say next or reflect on the last statement. Nevertheless it can be pretty annoying to have a conversation with someone who thinks and speaks much slower than you do. Still, you shouldn’t anticipate words for another person. It makes them look stupid and you like a moron.
Good for some breaks after each sentence would be for example the following quote by Ellen DeGeneres.
“In the beginning there was nothing. God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.”

December 7, 2007 at 3:04 pm 3 comments

To talk about sex

There is one way to popularity. Talk about something everybody is interested in. Let’s see: endangered animals? – sad, but no; their preparation for dinner? – probably also not the best idea; sexual diseases? – uhm, better; sex? – jackpot!
Let’s talk about one among nature’s favourite processes: reproduction.
He was standing right behind her. She could feel his warm breath on her right cheek. His nose was about to touch her ear gently while his hands slowly ..Alright, you see tension and details are the way to get the attention of your audience. Wisely used you can make almost any topic subconsciously about two bodies with one common goal. This can be quite helpful as sometimes you just need somebody to listen carefully.
For example when you’re told the safety instructions in the aircraft. Oh wait, nobody ever listens? I have to admit, the comparison of airplane safety information and sex is not an easy task, but let’s give it a try.

While our turbines are heating up, I’ll give you the instructions how to handle our hot situations. In case of fast descent and danger of getting wet, there are protective coats beneath your current position. If your breath gets as hard as ours, reach upwards to grab one of our air supplies and press it onto your nose and lips. When coming down, crouch and hold on to us firm. As soon as we’re down, follow the signals on our bottom to the next way out and slide out gently.
If you’re still smoking, we’re too!

December 4, 2007 at 7:25 pm 6 comments

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