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.”
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.