Be RESPONSIVE not REACTIVE with your English


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Actually to get yourself moving in terms of speaking in English, I’m not ultimately concerned if you are using English to ‘react’ or ‘respond’, the most important thing is that you are making an effort. But what this post is more about is that you understand how you are moving the conversation forward. This requires much more of a responsive action rather than a reactive one. These two words mean ultimately the same, but there is a real difference in terms of the flavor of it. (and trust me you will prefer to be with someone who responds far more than someone who reacts)

Firstly let’s define the two:

React:   to respond with hostility, opposition or in a contrary way

(You’ll need to google the meaning of these key words to understand that they are not a particularly positive way to talk to people)

Respond:            to say something in reply to a comment or statement

See the difference now? To react is a far more negative way to engage with someone than to respond. To respond tells the listener that you are making a point that is neither positive or negative, it is simply a reply. This kind of subtle engagement has a long term powerful effect when entering a discussion.

Simply put, if you are reacting in a conversation, you could end up in a short lived fight with your  partner. Reacting requires a blunt, to the point, comment that is meant to either end the conversation there and then or create an ongoing conversation where you and your partner have to constantly justify why you are saying what you are saying. This doesn’t exactly lead to a positive ongoing communication level.

However, if you are responding to comments or statements, you are going to at the least make the other person feel comfortable talking with you, or even better still, be interested in what else you have to say.

Often reactive statements are short and negative, while responsive statements are longer and more justifying.

When you want to keep a conversation going – make sure you are thinking in a responsive way rather than a reactive way – that way you are going to be far more likely to keep the other person interested and talking and well – that’s what a non-English speaking person needs to help them practice their new language.

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