SahlComm Blog: 5 Levels of Communication

Levels of Conversation

Small Talk – you know this – boring – mundane – predictable:
We use small talk more than any other form of communication. It is very basic, surface-level discussion with little disclosure and lacking emotional content. This is appropriate in any type of relationship.

Sharing Facts or Resources – focused, less predictable:
This type of communication is also very surface-level and focused on a specific issue or concern. Again, no emotional content or personal disclosure. Also appropriate for any type of relationship.

Viewpoints and Opinions – riskier depending on your relationship:
In this type of communication, you share more personal thoughts, but not emotional or intimate information. Sharing opinions and views involves more skill than the previous types of communication as it requires forethought and the ability to make a point in a way that doesn’t raise the defenses of others. This type of communication is safe to use with most people, though tread lightly on controversial topics.

Personal Feelings – sharing emotions or personal thoughts:
The important thing about sharing your personal thoughts and feelings is knowing with whom and when it is safe to do so. Discretion and boundaries are key. Go slow and follow the lead of the other person. There should be very little of this with people at work and rarely with strangers.

For more in-depth expansion on this topic or if you need strategic communication advice, contact us here.