I’ll talk to them. That’s a common phrase and you probably use it without thinking about it. “Do you know when the event starts?” “No, I’ll talk to them and find out“.
“The party is at Vern’s house. Do you know where he lives?” “No, I’ll talk to him and find out“.
We aren’t going to receive information if we are talking, are we? Now that I’ve pointed it out, you can see it: we need information but we say ‘talk to.’ I know the words don’t really matter in those examples as they are pretty simple conversations. I do believe that our choice of words does matter in other situations because our words determine the mindset that we bring to the interaction.
This is particularly important because we rarely use the word ‘listen,’ unless it is a command: “LISTEN to me!!!”
Talking without listening is not a conversation: it is broadcasting. The message is one way. Even when we think we are in conversation, we often don’t truly listen because we don’t know how. We think that it is enough to be silent while we wait for our turn to talk. Listening is a skill that isn’t often mentioned much less taught.
Here are a few more examples of Talk To to illustrate how our choice of words can determine mindset.
In a work situation:
“What do you know about the new project?”
“Not much. I’ll talk to that team and find out more.”
Doing the talking when you need to understand a project is counter-productive, but I’ve seen this happen time and time again. The person who wants the information (usually someone with higher organizational authority) asks for information but still manages to do most of the talking.
Another example in a work environment:
“What’s up with Shawn? He used to be so reliable but now he’s missing work“.
“I’ll talk to him about it“. You can see how that conversation is not set up to discover what’s going on with Shawn. There’s no desire to understand what might be causing him to miss work. The talk will probably be one-sided with an underlying message of ‘shape up’.
Here’s an interesting discovery on the pervasiveness of the word talk.
To ‘converse’ means “to engage in conversation” but the first synonym is TALK!
Do you talk? Or do you engage in conversation?