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Discussion vs. Conversation: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on November 22, 2023
Discussion refers to an exchange of views on a particular subject, often with a goal of reaching a conclusion or decision. Conversation refers to a casual, informal talk where ideas and feelings are exchanged without a specific goal.

Key Differences

A discussion typically involves a detailed exchange of views or a debate on a specific topic, often with the intention of reaching a decision or gaining a deeper understanding. Conversation, in contrast, is a more informal and spontaneous exchange of thoughts and information. It does not necessarily focus on a single topic and can shift from one subject to another freely.
Discussion is structured and focused, with participants addressing the subject matter directly. Discussions are common in academic, professional, or formal settings. While, conversations are part of everyday interactions, whether with friends, family, or strangers, and they are not typically goal-oriented.
In a discussion, participants often have clear objectives or points they want to address. The tone of a discussion can be serious, analytical, or argumentative, depending on the topic and context. People engage in discussions to solve problems, make decisions, or debate issues. However, conversations are characterized by their relaxed and informal nature. They are more about social interaction and personal connection than about achieving specific outcomes. The tone of a conversation is typically casual, and it allows for a more personal and emotional exchange.
While discussions are structured and focused on specific subjects or agendas, conversations are fluid and can cover a wide range of topics. Discussions are often planned, whereas conversations can happen spontaneously and evolve naturally.

Comparison Chart


To debate, decide, or solve something specific.
Casual exchange of thoughts and information.


Usually structured and focused.
Informal and can be random or spontaneous.


Can be serious, analytical, or argumentative.
Generally casual and relaxed.


Common in formal or professional contexts.
Occurs in casual or social settings.

Participant Involvement

Often involves active argument or analysis.
More about personal interaction.

Discussion and Conversation Definitions


An examination or analysis of a particular issue.
The book club's discussion of the novel was intense.


A casual exchange of thoughts between two or more people.
The conversation at dinner was lively and engaging.


An exchange of ideas or opinions on a specific topic.
The committee had a lengthy discussion about the new policy.


A spontaneous and informal dialogue.
Their conversation lasted for hours.


A formal debate or consideration of a subject.
The discussion on climate change was enlightening.


An exchange of information or news between individuals.
The conversation turned to recent events in the news.


A conversation with a specific purpose or goal.
We had a productive discussion about the project timeline.


An informal talk where ideas and experiences are exchanged.
Their conversation drifted from movies to travel.


A deliberative process of talking about a topic.
The team's discussion led to a new strategy.


A personal and informal communication.
I had a heartwarming conversation with an old friend.


Consideration of a subject by a group; an earnest conversation.


The exchange of thoughts and feelings by means of speech or sign language
Gifted in the art of conversation.


A formal discourse on a topic; an exposition.


An instance of this
Held a long conversation on the subject.


Conversation or debate concerning a particular topic.
There was then a long discussion of whether to capitalize words like "east".
This topic is not open to discussion.
My discussion with the professor was very enlightening.


Expression and exchange of individual ideas through talking with other people; also, a set instance or occasion of such talking.
I had an interesting conversation with Nicolas yesterday about how much he's getting paid.


Text giving further detail on a subject.
Under each heading, you will find a discussion.


The dispersion of a tumour.


The act or process of discussing by breaking up, or dispersing, as a tumor, or the like.


The act of discussing or exchanging reasons; examination by argument; debate; disputation; agitation.
The liberty of discussion is the great safeguard of all other liberties.


An extended communication (often interactive) dealing with some particular topic;
The book contains an excellent discussion of modal logic
His treatment of the race question is badly biased


An exchange of views on some topic;
We had a good discussion
We had a word or two about it


What is the tone of a typical conversation?

Conversations are generally casual and relaxed.

What defines a conversation?

A casual, informal exchange of ideas and feelings, often spontaneous.

How is a discussion structured?

Discussions are usually organized around a specific topic or agenda.

What’s the main goal of a discussion?

To explore, debate, or decide on a particular topic.

Can conversations lead to decisions?

They can, but it's not their primary purpose.

What makes a conversation enjoyable?

A relaxed atmosphere and mutual interest in topics.

Can a discussion be part of a conversation?

Yes, a conversation can include a discussion on a specific topic.

What is a discussion?

A focused exchange of views on a specific subject, often seeking a conclusion.

Is a conversation always informal?

Generally, yes, it's characterized by its informal and spontaneous nature.

Do discussions require preparation?

Often, especially in formal or professional settings.

What skills are important for leading a discussion?

Analytical thinking, articulation, and listening skills are key.

Are discussions always serious?

Not always, but they tend to be more serious than conversations.

Is expertise required in discussions?

Sometimes, especially in technical or specialized topics.

Are conversations goal-oriented?

No, they are more about social interaction and personal connection.

Can discussions be informal?

Yes, but they still focus on a specific topic or issue.

How do discussions end?

Typically with a conclusion or decision about the topic.

Can a conversation change topics frequently?

Yes, one of its hallmarks is its fluid and dynamic nature.

How important is listening in a conversation?

Very; it's essential for understanding and engaging in personal exchange.

Do conversations require a specific setting?

No, they can occur anywhere, anytime.

What’s the role of questions in a conversation?

They guide the flow and show interest in the other person's thoughts.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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