In our work, and in our lives away from work, we participate in conversations. People speak, and people listen. And more is happening than appears to be; promises are made, requests are made, invitations are issued, and proposals for new projects are presented.
Life occurs during conversations. In fact, it is in conversations that people make things happen. A conversation requires a speaker and a listener and is always about something — about what new car to buy, who to hire, what restaurant to eat at, and a thousand other possibilities and commitments.
Only four things, however, actually occur in any conversation: requests, promises, assertions, and declarations. Do you know the difference? Do you pause in your communications to consider which you and the other person are actively using at the moment? This is critical information to ensure expectations and context are clear within your world of agreements.
To add to the complexity, there are commonly two types of conversations that occur in our work and home lives: conversations for action, and conversations for possibility. Are you clear which type you’re pursuing before you begin a conversation? If you’ve ever had an idea that was suddenly acted on before you made the request for it, you know what I’m talking about.
Remember, the most likely outcome of any communication is miscommunication.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog where I’ll break down the four speech acts within conversations as well as the types of conversations – there’s always more to learn! By being more intentional about how you speak and listen, you can use every conversation to create more effective actions.