Five levels of conversation

conversathhion.jpgGoogle has surprisingly little about the theory on ‘levels of conversation’.

If you happen to find anything – do share.

During a recent talk on journaling and its usefulness (for some) in engaging with God, these 5 levels of conversation were presented as part of the background information:

  • Swapping greetings
  • Giving information
  • Exchanging experiences/details
  • Sharing feelings
  • Baring your soul

I was amused when I reflected on a variety of application of these five levels.

The first that came to mind was that of Geoff and my relationship, especially in its early stages and the intriguing progression to five. Interestingly on the odd days where communication isn’t so great, we hit level three, perhaps four but it doesn’t extend beyond that. Sometimes it doesn’t need to extend beyond a four. As very much a ‘quality time’ person, I like conversations with those select friends to hit a 4-5 level although sometimes I think that my ‘fours’ are something of my own creation, thoughts over feelings.

Blogging falls into a three-four. Experiences and details. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that any good (personal) blogging has to get to this level for readers to stick around, along with some half reasonable writing. It’s also probably wiser to keep it at this kind of level with maybe a very rare five. Fives probably shouldn’t take the stage of the public arena.

I am positive that there would be some debate around where four hits five, for some a four is the equivalent of a five. I think it’s a positive thing to be confident enough in yourself to let others know what’s really going on. I like honesty. And I like how I’ve grown from being a close fisted three into someone who can definitely deal with fours, and now (selectively) with fives, I think I’m better off for it.

And then there is engaging with teenagers. Sometimes you’re lucky to hit three. I lead youth where one the kids sits at a level one and you have to push to get anything more. It’s a beautiful thing watching teenagers become more confident in who they are and in what they believe – or at least in their willingness to ask questions. I don’t need them to bare their souls with me, but I’d like to be the kind of leader where if they needed to, they could feel safe in doing that.

It has got to be worthwhile being intentional about swapping fours and fives with Geoff and with other close friends. My question is, is it worth striving in each conversation for further levels? Sure it’s not always appropriate, but I think I am a often quite hesitant where there is space for more. I dislike ‘small talk’ yet sometimes it has it’s place – it’s also easier, less effort but about a billion times less rewarding. And if you crawl out to that not so safe place, do you get people following you and some real talk happening or do you just wind up looking full of yourself?

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