Life is defined by conversations. This creates the urge to master this skill. Where to start? Well, let’s look into an atom, the smallest possible part of each conversation — the dialogue.
You, they, media, message
In the very essence of each dialogue, there are two parties: you and someone else. There is a message passing from one to another. There is a medium that transports the message. As simple as that. Crave for a twist? Well, the medium is the message as well. “I love you” is weighted differently sent in an SMS or whispered in an eye-to-eye conversation. In fact, everything is a message: your pose, your movements, your shirt, your perfume choice, or lack thereof.
Meant, said, heard, understood
We are lost in translation. You meant something. You said something. They heard something. They understood something. Step by step, the message is distorted. We are operating the same language, but it’s coming from unique individual mindsets. Buying a bar of chocolate is a mess already: “Give me this, no, not that, to the left, my left, purple, no, not green, higher, lower, gosh, let me just take it myself”. I wonder how people are still able to start companies together or get married.
Think + feel = do
We think and we feel, so we do. This is the simplest model of a human’s internal interpreter. Rational analysis and emotional reaction result in an urge for action (or no action). Some of us overthink everything and never get to the action. Some feel, do and think afterward. It’s important to consider the fact that different people process information differently, relying on one or another side of arguments.
Content, pattern, relationships
Starting a crucial conversation, we usually assume the importance of the content. We need to deliver the message and recieve some answers. Let’s get the job done. “Something is wrong. Let’s fix it!” In reality, the issue that you are discussing could change over time. Feel the difference: “Hey, you didn’t turn off the light!” and “Why are you never ever turning this damn light off?!”. The content is there, but the real problem is a pattern of behaviors. What’s next? Well, relationships are ruined. When someone is really off about you, there is no point to touch the content, unless the bigger issue is addressed. In every conversation, start with evaluating the real subject that you want to solve for: is it a content, a pattern, or relationships.
Now that we have a foundation let’s talk about how dialogues even work.