conversational style

We need to communicate with each other

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We may not usually think of talking as a need, but there are few things that cause us more unnecessary difficulties than bad communication. It’s easy to think “wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were all telepathic?”. But that requires a lot of good blocking so you don’t get everything at once. Just think how hard it is to block only our own intrusive thoughts! Can you imagine the chaos if we heard every stupid thing that went through everyone else’s mind that they would NEVER say out loud? I’m certainly happy that people don’t hear everything that goes through my mind! (and so are you!)

I’ve learned a bit about communication styles and have learned that not only do men and women speak differently, different cultures speak differently, but also there seem to be inherent personal differences, such as the speed at which you speak, all of which can hamper rather than help communication. I tend to speak fast, two of my kids speak slowly. They are constantly pointing out that I’ve cut them off- even when I thought I’d given them what seemed to me excessive time to start the next sentence, or reply. Even now that we know about the issue and are trying to work on it, we end up being cross with each other for simply how fast or how slowly we talk.

Add to this cultural variation in posture and facial expressions, and our American “melting pot” can result in serious miscommunication. One culture sees meeting your eyes as a challenge, while another sees it as a sign of honesty. One sees a giggle as an expression of embarassment, while another sees it as a sign of disrespect. One employee will say he can do something when he means he thinks he can learn it, while another will only say so when he has mastered the skill. How’s a boss to know which one he’s dealing with? One thing is certain, we often cannot tell what the other person means, even without mind reading!

Photo by Tim Hipps

Still, talking is the best technique we’ve got for understanding each other. Here at CTCW we are hoping to get people from different backgrounds to share their knowledge and experiences in the fields of the “Paranormal”. But since we’ve been keeping it discrete (occult) for so long, each group has developed their own way of talking about it. If someone speaks of totems and another speaks of spirit guides- will we seriously misunderstand each other if we equate them, or can experiences with each inform the others? How do we know?

When Witches speak of working with “shadow” energy, some New Age practitioners become nervous, having been trained to work with only “the light”. Can the witches explain how the shadows are aspects of the whole, and not evil in any way that could be understood? I bet there are at least a dozen ways to describe that work. Or can ghost hunters with their gadgets communicate with spiritualists and their impressions? I hope we can. We need to respect each other, and stop assuming that our group contains the only stable people, while others who deal with the supernatural are nuts. We need to explain our specialized vocabulary and not use jargon unless there are no other words (and then definitely explain them). We must not make fun of each other, no matter how easy it seems, and how much it gets a laugh. That laugh can separate us.

Respect is the key to communication, whether between men and women, between fast and slow speakers, and between investigators of the occult. All humans have these experiences, but until we can talk about them freely, we are not going to be able to combine our resources to study them. Isn’t it worth it to give up our smug egotism about OUR group in order to learn more? We need to talk- so we need to learn how to talk.

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