Thursday, October 22, 2009

Conversation layers

I went to a continuing education class yesterday that dealt with the layers that exist in every conversation. The science of what happens when we are talking with people is identifyable. We talked about the three layers:

1. The Facts
What, when, where. There is information that the other party has that I do not have. I need to get the perspective that those facts offer. I need to know rather than to make assumptions. It is important to remember that there is more going on than just the facts but the facts are crucial information. Facts alone are like "An opera without the music".

2. The Feelings
This is the emotional level of the conversation. We learn what the hopes are and what people are worrying about. This is the subjective responce the objective facts. What do these facts mean to us personally. Emotions are key clues to deeper things going on under the surface.

3. The Identity issues
Identity is an area of personal study for me as I am developing a sermon series about who we are in Christ. The identity layer of conversation answers the question: What does this say about me? At this layer we find out what is at stake. The hopes and plans for the future are embedded in this layer. Our identity goes with us every moment and affects our decisions every day.

Knowing these levels helps us to understand more accurately what is going on with the other person in our conversation. The connection is deepened and better choices happen.

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