Communication versus Conversation: Do we know the difference?


This topic has been discussed ad nauseum in some circles: Communication and how to have better communication. What makes me laugh is that when you ask people if they are good communicators they always say “YES, I think so.”

Well Mr. or Ms. Good Communicator I am here to burst your bubble and tell you the answer is probably NO! Most people say Yes not because they are liars but maybe because our definition of a good communicator is at a very low standard. I think most people believe that good communication is listening to others and responding to them when they speak. Or being able to hold a conversation and have something to say. This makes you a good conversationalist but not necessarily a good communicator.

I am an awesome conversationalist…any of my friends and family can tell you this is true; not only because I talk a lot, which I do, but I also am knowledgeable about many topics and can pretty much hold my own except with a Physicist or a Nuclear Engineer or some such thing. Otherwise I have a whole lot of useless and useful information to share in a conversation. I will share it whether you like it or not! LOL Just kidding.

I wasn’t always the best Communicator though, which those closest to me can also agree on. I used many bad communication tactics such as sarcasm (which I still love, but I use my powers for good not evil anymore), being hurt or offended by everything someone says to me, turning the tables, and trying to be right all the time or prove a point. I was also usually only half listening and was already coming up with my next 3 points or sentences I wanted to say to get my point across.
These tactics made it hard for some people to ever want to have conversations with me, and if you use them too it might be why you feel people aren’t listening… because they probably are not. Or they walk on eggshells around you to not arouse the dragon… oops that was me, not you sorry! (but maybe that is you too!)

Also, a previous significant other just stopped communicating with me because the outcome was always the same: I ended up always playing the victim card and we never got anywhere so he just didn’t speak. And I made that happen. I can own that now because I know there is a better way to live and communicate that does not include those tactics.

Now, am I human? Do I sometimes resort to bad communication? Ask my husband and he will tell you YES, of course she still does those things occasionally, but in general we have good communication between us and I am always looking for ways to make it better and to own my part in any failure to communicate. Also I always own to my slip ups and apologize on the spot (hopefully).

Here are some steps you can start using today from a great article I read recently from a website I love called PsychCentral. The article 9 Steps to Better Communication Today was written by John M. Grohol, PSYD.

The 9 steps are:

  1. Stop and Listen
  2. Force yourself to Hear
  3. Be open and Honest with your partner
  4. Pay attention to Non-Verbal signals
  5. Stay focused in the here and now
  6. Try to minimize emotion when talking about important, big decisions
  7. Be ready to cede an argument.
  8. Humor and Playfulness usually help
  9. Communication is more than just talking

See link below to read the complete article:

These are steps that if you incorporate them today you can be on the road to being able to answer truthfully “Yes, I am a good communicator!” if you are asked.


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