Topical Tuesday: Conversation

Hello, everyone! Enjoying your week so far? Today, I thought- okay, not me. Sophie. Sophie thought of this. I love when she gives me prompts! Anyway, Sophie recommended a pretty interesting topic idea this time around too: conversations. She said she’d be curious to see how I talk to people, how I perceive others in conversation, things like that. And, to add to it myself, I’m going to talk about differences between different kinds of conversing- for example, voice chat versus text chat.

I’ve never been the best conversationalist. I have a soft voice because of my hearing too loud, and I get too anxious to look people in the eyes most times. I have a local accent that involves not being able to pronounce the letter ‘t’ in words it’s in the middle of like water or letter. They always come out wader and leder. As someone who took vocal lessons, I find it fairly annoying that I can’t annunciate things properly when I speak, but when I sing all the words sound normal!

But that’s not the end of my own skills that don’t exist. Whether in video chat or not, I often have notable hand gestures and do stupid things in front of my computer. I’ll wave hello after typing it knowing no one can see it but me. To be frank, I talk with my hands a lot. They’re constantly on the go, trying to emphasize my points and phrases.

That, however, is just how it looks on my side when having a conversation.

There are lots of things I see as good or bad in a conversation. To me, raising your voice, name calling (unless it’s all in good fun), talking too fast or slow- those are all pretty bad things, and I know I do some of them myself. The more excited I am, the faster and louder my voice can get. The hardest part is getting me to shut up. It’s sadly a family trait- all of it. It’s how I learned these things, you know?

Of course, those forms of conversational issues only really matter when you’re using your voice. Some of them, like the name calling, are bad in text as well- but you can’t really yell outside caps lock (which I find quite annoying, frankly), your speed is mostly based on how fast you can type… It’s just different by design.

I’ve seen a lot of bad conversations. My grandma is a terrible listener, and she has a habit of trying to force food on people who are trying to leave her house or that are just not hungry. She’ll repeat herself over and over until you say yes just to get her to leave you alone. I use the food example because it happens more than other times this kind of situation comes up. I once saw her friend stuck at her house for an extra half hour because she was trying to leave to go to dinner with her kids, and my grandma couldn’t accept that fact and that clearly she didn’t need food.

I have some beliefs about what make a good conversation- for starters, not talking in circles (unlike me and my family) is great. Get to the point as quickly and reliably as possible, I say- but I’m still learning to do it myself. Don’t speak so fast that no one can hear your words, obviously- but don’t speak so slow that it takes an hour to say a sentence.

The big issue for me is volume. Whenever I’m in a voice chat, unless my buddy JD is joining us, my volume is usually set to maybe ten, fifteen at most. For some reason, JD is even quieter than I am, though- so I have to put on my headphones and turn up the volume just to hear her. It’s a shame, really.

Outside of speech patterns and such, though, is how you talk when you text. I tend to use a lot of smiley marks and such in conversations online. I don’t think it’s good nor bad to do- it’s just a preference. The way I end my sentences with tildes is not proper grammar, but part of my doing that is to learn to not be as stiff about grammar and such when it’s not work related. How you end your sentences, how you start your sentences- there’s a lot to think about whether text or voice with how you express yourself in words.

Your inflection is a tell, a tell for the listener to know what emotion you’re working off of. Since you can’t do that in text, it’s a lot easier to confuse people about your emotional state. The speed at which you talk should affect your grammar when you text too- if you speak really fast, make your sentences shorter so that the many stops fit how you’d usually speak. Or, just ignore grammar altogether and let all your words flow without punctuation in that particular text. Yes, you heard me right.

What’s important with conversation, no matter how it’s held, is simply this: You listen and take in every piece of data you can get from their speed, their inflection, their volume. Or you read, keep an eye on context, and get the gist of things that way. No matter how you hold your conversations, the most important thing you can do is get your ideas across in a way your partner can understand. And if you don’t understand, guys… Just be honest! Honesty is the best policy. It’s also the best way to get someone to reword what they said and repeat it differently when you’re confused.

That’s just my two cents though. Others will see conversation in different ways, because we’re all different people. We’re all just trying to make sense of the world and the people around us- so shouldn’t we try to make sense to those doing the same?

That’s it for today guys, but you know the drill! Tell me what you find important when holding a conversation with someone. Tell me about a bad or good experience conversing- just share what you thought of while reading this! I love to get to know you through that, more than you’ll ever know!

Well, until next time!