Let's Talk About 'Talking'

 -A Reflective Piece-

Recently I came to realisation, due to a workshop/research I was in, that we don't really talk about the way we talk to each other, the way we communicate with the person next to us, or even the way we have an internal dialogue with ourselves, let alone the rest of the world. Even though as Homo Sapiens we call ourselves a social animal, are we really that good at interacting and communicating with each other ?


The workshop I attended was for a research about listening each other, and as they call it, unmaking single perspectives. I've always been amazed by different perspectives of different people and since I started my degree in Keele, I got caught up into the world of interdisciplinary. The environment in the workshop was created just for these two words, interdisciplinary and perspectives. There were Phd students, Undergraduate freshers and members of staff, all from different expertise, with the motto; we are all equal in here. Such environment indeed led to an interesting conversation about how we communicate, especially when we are face to face.

So what is communication ?

One may find different descriptions and theories about what communication is and what it should be. For me communication is the exchange of an information or a feeling between at least two individuals. Since our childhood we were taught how to communicate, sociologist would call this primary socialisation, where we learn the values and norms of the culture we get socialised into, and verbal communication is a very important part of this socialisation. Yet, somehow we manage to mis-communicate many, so many, times in our lives.

The inner dialogue

Another thing I took from the workshop was a question on our inner dialogue, how do we communicate with ourselves, what about that inner voice that we keep talking with. As a bilingual 20 year old, I can't figure out what language I think in anymore, it came to a point of blurred lines between the two languages I speak. Hence that is topic to explore at a later time.

Back to our inner dialogue; there are inner 'filters', as I would like to call them, inside my head that I go through while I am talking with someone. I go through those filters especially when I am introduced to new ideas, theories and opinions. These filters I go through are;

  • values of the culture I was raised up into,
  • then there are the values of my parents,
  • the values I was raised into that I find problematic, hence I eliminate that the problematic bits of the first filter
  • the values I acquired along the way through my education, and the events I have been through,
  • and finally my own moral values.

Of course I do not deny the scientific facts I know/learned/read/taught.

I am curious what processes does people go through when they're introduced to a certain topic. There were people in the workshop who said,"I think about what I'm going to say next while I am listening the other person, what questions do I have about the 'story' I was listening".

Multiple Perspectives

Another thing my inner voice does is to produce several perspectives to an issue, such that it may come to a point that I can not decide which one is my perspective. To be honest, I blame this one to the ' To what extend do you agree on X' essays that I wrote back in college and the sociology classes that taught me to see the multiple perspectives. There is also the way I was raised, where in a discussion my parents would say "I understand your point of view, but have you considered this side of the story ?"


If you're interested in this topic, here are more stuff to read;

Listening Project - Beware the 'winning zone'

Creative Thinking Habit: Always Look at Problems with Multiple Perspectives



Thank you for reading, and I hope I got you thinking about the way we communicate

Try The Impossible