Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Building affinity via conversation: 'Rapport Talk' and 'Affinity and Beyond'

In my blog post titled "'What is affinity?': Networking event brings affinity to light" I capture a conversation describing how one can identify an affinity. Related to that is a post by Dr. Jeremy Sherman that I recently came across that outlines what he describes as conversation that is 'Shoptalk' vs 'Affinity and Beyond.'

Dr. Sherman provides detailed analysis, along with example conversations, in his Ambigamy blog post titled "The affinity paradox: How does eye-to-eye become eye-for-an-eye in casual conversation?" Dr. Sherman's 'Shoptalk' conversation involves comparing experiences without the need for agreement; however, 'Affinity and Beyond' conversation develops deeper bonds as there is an exchange of information involving shared goals and common vision as if on a journey together.

Reading Dr. Sherman's blog I was reminded of a fascinating book I read years ago by sociolinguist Dr. Deborah Tannen regarding gender differences in conversations, including what she categorizes as 'Report Talk' vs. 'Rapport Talk.' Dr. Tannen's book You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation describes how 'Report Talk' conversation is generally used by men to convey information and establish status, while 'Rapport Talk' conversation is generally used by women to convey information and build connection.

Over the years, Tannen's book has made a world of difference to me in improving the effectiveness of my personal and professional conversation among predominately male affinity groups and predominately female affinity groups, and her book's content continues to remain relevant today. Sherman's blog adds another level of insight into what we may instinctively feel as being 'on the inside' or 'on the outside' following a verbal exchange, and the conversation queues that lead to that feeling.

While reading Sherman's blog reminded me of Tannen's book, the two authors present distinct perspectives on conversation that address different aspects of affinity building. Consequently, pairing the knowledge in Tannen's book with Sherman's blog insights can help you strategically position your conversation for more effective affinity relationship-building that benefits both you and your affinity contacts.
When attending conferences, speaking at events, or engaged in one-on-one conversations, I occasionally make reference to books or other products and services that might be helpful to others. My 'Resources' page indexes items referred to in my blog posts with links for more information.
Brenda Dow is a specialist in Marketing, Advancement, and Business Development. She holds degrees in communications and human resources management, and blogs about affinities and affinity related activities at http://www.AffinityAvenue.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment