Changing conversations – why now?

How often do we fall into the trap of trite management mantras, and how we think a person in leadership ‘should’ behave?

Conversations are how we connect. At work. At home. With friends. With colleagues. With clients. As human beings we all have a deep need for connection, for understanding, empathy, and feeling like we are valued and heard. We are all inherently emotive.

There has never been a more important time for us to pay attention to how we connect with each other through our conversations. Deep political and social issues are increasingly being woven into the narrative and fabric of organisational life. We are becoming increasingly aware that we may be saying the wrong thing or offending someone. We may be wanting to speak up, to challenge, to disagree, and not know how.

The easy way forward is to stay quiet or get stuck in the mindset of “it’s my way or the high way.” The courageous way forward is to develop the capability to have more open and honest conversations.

How can we develop our conversational capability?

Our philosophy of Conversational Wisdom® has emerged from the award-winning Conversation Space research into Leadership Conversations. Its purpose is to provide a structure that helps people improve their leadership capability from a conversational perspective and, by doing so, develop better organisation-wide connectivity.

The model defines three essential conditions for anyone looking to engage in a meaningful conversation – being human, being aware and being skilled.

“There has never been a more important time for us to pay attention to how we connect with each other through our conversations.”

Being Human

How often do we fall into the trap of trite management mantras, and how we think a person in leadership ‘should’ behave? We are often so consumed by how we meet our own assumed expectations, that it can take great courage to put these aside and have a genuinely human conversation, where we are more concerned about listening rather than figuring out what we’re expected to say next.

It sounds so simple and yet being fully human means being vulnerable, sharing flaws, admitting that we just don’t know, but also embracing the spectrum of human connection such as warmth, compassion, empathy and not least of all, humour. These things don’t weaken us as a leader. They are the qualities that make people want to follow us.

By Sara Hope
01.07.2018

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Being Aware

The element of awareness really raises the value of the conversation to the next level. It’s about seeing a conversation as something with real importance that is the pre-curser to action, not just something throw-away. When we bring intention and reflection to a conversation, it becomes something that can transform, educate and be the action itself.

“If you do one thing after you’ve read this article, try talking to someone at home or work only using open questions.”

Being Skilled

We can just wing it. But being a great conversationalist takes skill. If you have ever been moved or changed by a conversation someone has taken the time to have with you, I can bet you it’s something they have spent time learning how to do, and a lifetime getting better at.

If you do one thing after you’ve read this article, try talking to someone at home or work only using open questions. It ain’t easy. We’re so busy these days, all we do is talk to gain information – narrowing down as quickly as we can to the heart of the subject so that we can tick a box and move on. Watch what an open question in a conversation does to open up the richness of that chat and how it makes that person
feel. What’s more, you learn about what’s really going on for them.

Now imagine giving that same feeling to everyone in your team or family tomorrow, what they might achieve?

Here at The Conversation Space, we are passionate about strengthening human connections through the power of conversation – because it really is the key to change. It’s changed us, and we won’t ever stop looking for opportunities to pass that on.