What I discovered about the secret of communication

In the beginning, a conversation was just a communication

When I was 15, I wondered what made a good conversation good or bad. I asked myself: how do people who are so good at communicating get their words to "flow like water". Because at that time, my ability to converse was more like the little stream in Angrignon Park in winter. I should mention that I was fifteen at the time, that's over thirty years ago.

Then I discovered that a conversation was not only a communication

I bought a book by Dale Carnegie on public speaking, and then I started courses in human relations and communication. Conversation is much more than the words and phrases that are used to convey our messages. I discovered that there are many kinds of conversations: open or direct (explicit, stated) and covered or indirect (implicit, unstated), verbal and non-verbal, logical and emotional, complementary and symmetrical, intrapersonal and interrelational, factual and inferential, personal and impersonal, informative and recreational, etc.


It is impossible for human beings not to communicate

I have found that even if we don't want to communicate, there is no escaping the fact that we still communicate our desire not to communicate. But even when we organise a set of ideas and translate them as accurately as possible into words and then transmit them, the chances are that the meaning of the words and the meaning the other person will make of my message will be different from the one I had originally meant. Moreover, the emotions that are expressed with the message may be very different in the person receiving it.

The meaning of the message communicated by the sender may be different in the receiver

How many times a week do we give another meaning to an event, a message or a conversation? I also discovered that in a conversation we can hear but not really listen, that we can listen but not understand. I discovered that the distance between us is defined by our relationship and that our status (equal, superior or inferior) is automatically defined by each of the conversational partners.

Real communication is about connecting us

Communication is often associated with the image of a speaker transmitting a message while the listener must remain passive throughout the reception of the message and deny his or her existence as an autonomous person (akin to text messaging). But, I have discovered and understood, that no matter what messages and topics are discussed in a conversation, it allows us to pool our similarities to connect them, and thus exploit the differences to tune them and get more value out of them. Don't you find that our relationships make us stronger? If I have discovered one thing that is truly essential in any conversation, it is that the relationship it creates is the glue that holds us together as humanity.

"Communicating" is often confused with "giving information".

The essential is not the conversation, but the relationship that connects those who communicate and unfortunately for many, the essential is invisible to the eyes that watch it. Let's hope that more and more humans can open their eyes and see how we are truly interrelated, one to another, and that hurting others is always hurting ourselves.

Then, since I am aware of what I was not aware of at the beginning, a conversation is no more than a communication.


2020 by Gaëtan Sauvé.

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