Deborah Tannen - That's Not What I Meant: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships

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What I Mean Is...

Jan 7, 2000
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Interesting, clear, lucid, very informative

Cons:None of note

I was intrigued by this title, and immediately upon reading just the first few pages, I became a dedicated fan of Deborah Tannen's work on interpersonal, cross-cultural communications. In this particular work, Dr. Tannen focuses on the differences different cultural groups have in communication, and how it can cause missed communication.

For only one example of many possible, in some cultures it is standard procedure to finish someone else's sentences for them, and to interrupt them as soon as you grasp their point. This is a sign you're paying attention. In other cultures, interrupting or finishing someone else's sentence is considered highly discourteous. So, when people from these two cultures are conversing, missed communication is not only possible, but likely.

Dr. Tannen focuses on such interesting areas as the idea of personal space, of eye contact, of inquisitiveness, and so on. Each of these areas can be the occasion of missed communication. Anyone can benefit from her observations and research. Just applying the knowledge that Dr. Tannen presents in this book can improve virtually anyone's communication skills.

I recommend this book highly to anyone who talks. Or listens.


Recommend this product? Yes

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