How to Speak so People Listen is filled with specific concepts and models. To make a valuable resource for readers, and to introduce non-readers to some of the core concepts of the book, I have created a dictionary. As a bonus, this dictionary also contains additional terms and ideas that are not contained in How to Speak so People Listen. It is in 16 parts and has around 100 entries. If you like dictionaries -�take a look too at The Yes/No Dictionary based on my earlier book, The Yes/No Book.

Part 12: Conversation

Conversation is so central to How to Speak so People Listen, that we will spread this topic over three entries:

  1. This week, general words relating to conversation
  2. Next week, words relating to Casual Conversations
  3. The following week, words relating to Complicated Conversations


Casual Conversation (noun); A conversation with low stakes and little contention, held between two people who respect one another. Casual conversations pass easily and comfortably.

Complicated Conversation (noun); A conversation with some combination of contention, consequences, emotional baggage, polarity of views, and fear. Complicated conversations are necessary but difficult to hold.

Mature Conversation (noun); Conversations that have a real impact on the world, for example by creating new thinking, sharing insights, developing plans or making decisions. They improve relationships, help us to develop, and make people feel good. Mature conversations are characterised by self- and mutual-respect, respect for facts, evidence and reason, responsibility and willingness for accountability, and by genuine choice in how to respond.

Unproductive Conversation (noun); The opposite of mature conversations (qv). Unproductive conversations serve little or no purpose. They make neither party better informed, happier, or wiser. They resolve nothing, generate no new ideas, make no progress, and do nothing to improve your relationship. They don’t even make a pleasant pastime.� How to Speak so People Listen describes four common examples: critical, petulant, stifling, and submissive conversations.

Forms of conversation

Conversations can be mature or unproductive, casual or complicated, leading to different forms of conversation.

Types of conversation

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