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Cydcor Reviews: That’s Not What I Meant: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships

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Here is Cydcor’s review of That’s Not What I Meant: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships by Deborah Tannen.

About That’s Not What I Meant: The book explains the old saying “It’s not what you say, but how you say it that counts” with a revolutionary thought process about how words and their tones can make or break relationships.

Tannen looks to demonstrate how something very small and insignificant can turn an entire conversation upside down, bringing the opposite result of what was expected. Between family, co-workers, friends or partners, she shows how everything from how our body language, hand gestures and tone can bring successful communication with those around us.

Cydcor recommends this book to future leaders because:

The author looks to have those be aware of how they habitually communicate, and the reasons behind why they communicate in such ways and what to look for to correct them. A poor communication style can break a professional relationship, so it’s relevant to leaders to have each piece of communication broken down and to explain how it effects others. Tannen does a terrific job of providing clear, understandable information in an entertaining tone.

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Our favorite part:

Tannen helps us understand how we don’t just pay attention to the words spoken: in fact, we pay less attention to the message than what she calls the “metamessage”: the implied and inferred meanings that each utterance evokes.

An example provided is the question, “Does this dress make me look fat?”, as there is no right “yes” or “no” answer, as the question is not about the affect a particular garment has on one’s appearance.

The real question, what Tannen calls “metamessages, is about whether the listener still finds the questioner attractive. Miss the real question, and conflict follows.