The Power of Talk by Deborah Tannen


Communication is considered to be one of the powerful methods of interaction between individuals. The article The Power of Talk written by Deborah Tannen, is a comprehensive work that examines communication from the perspective of its significance for university and work settings. The main styles, or rather distinct “situations” of talking and their respective features, are examined in detail. The article also reveals the value of clear and appropriate communication, supporting arguments with real-life examples. Finally, the author provides advice on how to approach particular situations, for instance, when there is a necessity to give criticism. The article can be considered a credible guide for one or another style of talking utilizing.

The Theme, Main Ideas, and Summary of Major Points

The theme of the article is the significance of appropriate utilization of a broad range of linguistic styles of talking to ensure the clearness of communication within a culturally diverse workplace. The article has two main ideas, the first of which is the complexity of communication because of the influence cultural and personal experience has on it. The second idea is the value of conversational style contribution to managerial activities and workplace interactions.

It is possible to provide a summary of major points discussed in the article to outline how the mentioned above ideas were developed. The first considerable statement is that communication is different from direct saying, as not only the meaning of a speech but the method of its presentation has an impact on the perception of information. Then, the definition of linguistic style is provided to outline how certain tone of voice, rate of speed, degree of loudness, and other factors, compose the particular method of talking utilized for a specific purpose.

Further, in the article, the author provides patterns for specific situations of talking. It includes outlining of assumptions behind each of the cases and revealing the direct consequences of making mistakes while utilizing linguistic styles in any of the examples. A total of eight instances of communication, which are sharing credit, acting modest, asking questions, apologizing, giving feedback, avoiding verbal opposition, managing up, and being indirect, are analyzed in the article. Every of the mentioned referential situations is discussed in detail, and clear real-life examples are provided to ensure the correct understanding of the significance of appropriate linguistic style choices during the communication process. The final point made is that there is no one most suitable way of speaking, as the outcomes of communication depend on the situation, the culture of the company, and the backgrounds of the workers. Therefore, it is vital for a speaker to develop their own communication abilities and consider both environment and linguistic styles to ensure that ideas explained are heard and credited, rather than attempt to find a single and universal solution.

What I Have Learned from the Article

I can provide several examples, describing what I have learned from the article, and can potentially apply. For instance, many times, I have completed written assignments, part of which is feedback on my peers’ texts, providing. I am the kind of person who notices mistakes and issues first and is not afraid of pointing them out. After reading the article, I recognized that criticism buffering is vital and will enable me to assist my peers in their paper improvement in an appropriate and friendly way. In addition, I have always believed that frequent apologizing is a sign of weakness. However, I have been taught by the article that apologies can be utilized to show my concern for others. It can be vital, for instance, while working with people who can be easily offended. Therefore, for me, the article is a valuable guide I will definitely further refer to.

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