We talk to lots of people each day. Some of it is perfunctory (“We will be there at 11 o’clock”), transactional (“I’d like to reserve a table for four at 7PM”), casual (”Tell me what your weekend plans are”), or conventionally polite (“Send my best to your wife”). Such exchanges are spontaneous and informal and of brief duration.
Distinct from these are conversations that are regarded as more serious and consequential. When they occur we assume matters of some substance are being discussed. Accordingly, we’ve assigned special conversational categories to suggest their likely significance:
• Talking Turkey is when you stop “beating around the bush” and get down to business. No more “dancing around the subject.” Let’s come to grips with what must be decided. Or are you “all talk?”
• Man to Man Talk (with apologies to women). It’s time we had a frank and open conversation. We’ve been evading the issue. It is essential we confront it openly.
• Heart to Heart Talk. No more polite platitudes. We must reveal our true feelings; put them out “on the table.”
• Talking Shop. You shouldn’t be discussing work issues and business beyond the workplace. On the other hand, “Talking shop” in the office often leads to a fruitful exchange of ideas, reveals ways to enhance efficiency and profitability.
• Table Talk. Families gathered at the dinner table are expected to discuss “serious” matters that affect many of those present. Here is where frank and open discourse about money, jobs, vacation plans, and educational options can take place and decisions reached.
• Pillow Talk. Couples are normally too busy during the day to engage in meaningful conversation. But once in bed at night, and before falling asleep, there’s an opportunity to open up, get certain matters “off their chests,” clear up misunderstandings.
Talk, as they say, may at times be “cheap,” no more than “idle chatter,” but there are – as
we have just noted – times set aside where the opportunity exists for constructive and candid conversation.