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Old 04-10-2013, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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What are some good books to read about the psychology of conversation?
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:05 PM
 
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If by "the psychology of conversation" you mean communication skills, this book is excellent. I first used it in an undergrad college class on human relationships around 1990, and used it for so many papers in grad school and therapy group exercises, the book fell apart, so I bought the newer addition a few years ago. This one here on amazon seems to be an even newer addition.

Messages: The Communication Skills Book: Matthew McKay PhD, Martha Davis PhD, Patrick Fanning: 9781572245921: Amazon.com: Books

I used to have couples and families read sections of this book and practice the skills in session and at home. I've even recommended the book to friends who were having communication problems in relationships, or problems with communication in their workplaces.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:40 PM
 
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One handy trick is to repeat to someone what they said. Or have them repeat to you what you have said. i.e. Feedback! You are verifying you understand what they said or that they understand what you said. A good one for that is giving someone a phone number or address over the phone (or in person).

And another is some people like to use big words or the "correct terminology". However common people may not understand those terms. So if you do that, people are not going to understand what you are saying!

For example a doctor tells a patient he needs to have a "cholecystectomy". The patient says Huh??? But if the doctor tells the patient he needs to have his gall bladder removed, then the message is understood by the listener.

Or some people use acronyms on the internet like DH, LOL, GF, etc. Not all people understand those things. Better is to not use acronyms if you want EVERYONE to understand what you are saying.

Newspapers have a big battle with new reporters fresh out of college who have just learned a lot of big words. They need to train them to not use those big words so every reader will understand what they are saying. "Every reader" includes people who can barely read, teenagers, etc. Anyway they like the word "clarity".

Here the part on writing with clarity starts off with... "Newspaper writing is not academic writing. We don't use big words and long sentences to show our readers how smart we are..."
News Writing Basics: "Accuracy, Clarity, and Style"

Last edited by Billy_J; 04-10-2013 at 06:58 PM..
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:51 PM
 
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P.S. Another good one is yard sale signs along a road which say too much and have printing too small to read unless you walk up to the sign.

Stop along a highway where the speed limit is 55 mph and see how big the letters on the signs are. Here is all about that...
http://www.usscfoundation.org/USSCSi...RulesThumb.pdf

Then the big billboard paid advertising sign companies suggest advertisers use 6 words or less. People can't read very many words when driving by! See "The Golden Rule" about half way down...
Billboard articles Outdoor advertising creativity tips
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Old 04-11-2013, 01:53 PM
 
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OP, you might also want to try readin up on Transactional Analysis developed by Eric Berne. These ideas were first published in the 50 or 60s, but it got big in the 70s with the self-help movement. By the time I was in college in the 80s and grad school in the 90s, Transactional Analysis was woven deeply into a lot of resources on relationships and communication.

It's really a cool way of analyzing and diagramming interactions between people, interpreting where they are coming from, and figuring out how to respond in a way that decreases conflict (or increases it, if that's what you want). You can analyze conversations and see where something got steered off into a conflict or when frustration was created. I got really into it in a college class I took, and later when I was doing group therapy, my clients used to like it too. It's really easy to grasp (even with my clients who had really serious mental health conditions). It might be a little simplistic at times (I really don't believe that everything I ever say can be put into just 3 categories). But most of it will really ring true to the reader.
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Windham County, VT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNigh View Post
What are some good books to read about the psychology of conversation?
Deborah Tannen's work, incl. but not limited to such volumes as "You Just Don't Understand"-
You Just Don't Understand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Deborah Tannen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
lists others of her books, which tackle communication within families, chronic arguments, in the workplace, etc.
I've read a few of them, thought they were right on.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:46 PM
 
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Stephen R. Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is an easy read and likely is based upon what TracySam mentioned.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:40 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
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I second the recommendation for transactional analysis. There are different models, all of them helpful, I think.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...ional+analysis
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:52 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Just to clarify though, I'm looking for the more scientific approach not the applied approach. More of the "lab studies and analysis" vs "how to be a better speaker". The kind of books you might be told to read in a college graduate course, not a self help course.
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