[Image by Annalise Art of Pixabay]

Is there a difference between talking to vs. talking with? In my opinion, yes, there is a significant difference.  Now you may be scratching your head about this difference and seeking more information.  Too often, we find ourselves in a situation where the other person is speaking to us and it may sound something like this:

–Today, I want to tell you about…

–I feel this is important because…

–My opinion is that….

What matters most to me is…

The essential information you need to know is…

In each of these five examples, the other person is putting himself or herself first which means that you are the receiver of that information.  It may also mean that your perspective or viewpoint is not being taken into account or is perhaps less important.  This is what ensues when we’re being spoken to.

Conversely, here are illustrations of what we hear when the other person is speaking with us.

Your opinion matters to me, so please share your thoughts now.

I’m interested in knowing why you view this as important.

What about this subject matters the most to you?

Many aspects of this topic are relevant.  Given that, what do you view as essential?

Much about this stands out to me.  Tell me what stands out for you.

The idea of speaking or talking to someone is quite different than speaking or talking with someone.  Most of us prefer being spoken with vs. being spoken to.  While this distinction can occur in various situations, I encourage you to consider the to vs. with difference when you’re the speaker (vs. the listener).  It’s easy to fall into this pattern which is why it helps to be cognizant of the impact.

When your listener or audience is spoken with it’s definitely more likely that they’ll experience greater involvement, retention, and inclusivity.  These are all positive benefits and worthy of your consideration. Understanding how speaking with your target audience is not the same as speaking to your audience, is paramount to your continued success.  By the way, this includes spoken as well as written communication.

If you’d like to discuss this further or share specifics, I’m here to help.  Feel free to contact me at 518-664-6004 or dale@profitablespeech.com

Can’t wait to speak with you.