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What Is Phatic Communication?

Phatic communication, or more commonly known as small talk, is described as conversation for the sake of talking or conversing. This is an informal kind of discourse where the conversation does not focus on a particular functional topic or transaction that needs tobe discussed.

Phatic communication can either be a verbal or non-verbal one. A person waving at an officemate or giving him a thumbs up signal is considered a part of phatic communication. The cursory conversations that happen at the bank is also considered as one.

According to sociologists, phatic communication is considered as a way for opening up social channels. This can eventually lead to more factual and substantial discourse. It’s very rare for people to begin and end their conversations with facts. Phatic communication serves to set the stage for more serious discourse.

Internet chatrooms are a good example of phatic communication. New chatroom visitors will often open up conversation that is perfunctory so that other chatters can slowly get into the social conversations without being pressured to be immediately become informative.

Phatic communication is found everywhere, even in the workplace. For example, receptionists use established greetings in order to start and end phone conversations. The employees engage in “water cooler” talk that is more social in nature than informative.

Even though it is important to build up good phatic communication skills, it should also be important to realize the varying degrees of comfort needed for the process. It is a reality that there are people who are not comfortable about the idea of making “small talk.”

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