• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

It's good to talk is one of the great clich[ac]es of our time. The benefits of talk to individuals, families and organizations are proclaimed by pop psychologists, television talk show hosts, and management gurus. The importance of talk is talked about endlessly. Good to Talk? is an attempt to look critically at what lies behind this upsurge of concern about talk in our workplaces, classrooms and private lives, and it places these developments in historical context and relates their forms to the broader economic and social changes associated with globalization. The book also poses questions about the social and political implications of talking about talking. Is `communication' the key to solving the

Introduction: Good to Talk?
Introduction: Good to talk?

‘I think a lot of people tend to take communication for granted in some way…it's something they don't have to think about…if they perhaps learned to do it better it would improve everything else – all other aspects of their life’.

– Anonymous respondent, National Communication Survey, 1996.

Throughout the 1990s, ‘it's good to talk’ was the advertising slogan used by the phone company British Telecom (BT).1 I imagine the advertising agency chose it for much the same reason that I am recycling it: not because it is original or witty, but because it is a truism – indeed, it is one of the great cliches of our time.

In its advertising, BT uses the everyday word, ‘talk’. Elsewhere, it prefers ...

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