The secret of good communication is the capacity to listen.
In this time of transformative change, we’d like to listen to you. We want to hear from you, our friends and colleagues, about how your experiences of conversations might have changed.
We believe we are at a tipping point and that perhaps this pandemic is giving us a gift? An important lesson in how we talk to each other at work. A new model of conversations. A reminder that above all, business is about people. And that without connection, we feel adrift.
What are you valuing about connecting and talking to people in new and different ways? What are you finding more challenging? How are you ensuring you build and maintain a human connection with your team, boss, colleagues, clients and customers?
In 2016 we won the Roffey Park Research Award for our paper, Mastering Conversations – the key ingredient to successful leadership. The findings that emerged have shaped and informed all our work and our methodology of Conversational Wisdom®. An approach that encourages people to be the best they can and to make the most of every conversation. Since then we have been supporting leaders and managers in organisations to model a more human, curious and courageous approach to conversations.
At the time of our initial research, our world was a different place. We did face to face interviews where we heard firsthand experiences about conversations at work. People described being in meetings, in person, with high levels of conversational nuance and empathy. Shared stories about the importance of their everyday interactions with their colleagues, clients, and customers. Expressed a desire for having a different type of conversation to the transactional, task focused and less humanly connective ones. Conversations that include more respect, insight, honesty and challenge, at the same time as being supportive and personal.
That was then. And this is now.
Whilst we have been moving towards a world of more virtual working, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated the shift. Many conversations are now taking place on Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, or other video-calling interfaces. There’s much still unknown about how work will transform but it is extremely unlikely that things will just go back to exactly the way they were before.
But what hasn’t changed is us as humans. We are social beings. The universal hunger to connect and belong explains much of human behaviour from birth until death. And we connect through our conversations.
Our research is driven by a quest to help organisations to be more human, relational, and productive and to help the people within them to thrive and adapt. We are seeking to understand the complexities of strengthening human connection through the power of virtual conversations. How we grow our courage to have difficult conversations when we’re not in the same room. How we deepen relationships and strengthen our capacity to listen. And how we practically support our leaders and managers to strengthen their muscle.
The resilience of business and society requires leaders and managers to be conversationally wise. We believe leaders have the voice, platform and influence to ignite the kind of dialogue that leads to meaningful change.
What are we doing?
We are harvesting stories and gathering data on experiences from people across different organisations, geographies, and sectors to explore the impact of how conversations in their workplace are changing. Our interest is drawn to examining how people are strengthening human connection through the power of conversation since the pandemic started.
The research uses an inductive approach and data will be gathered using:
- Surveys – combination of quantitative and qualitative questions
- One-to-one interviews to understand the experiences and views of people at work
We aim to highlight:
- What helps strengthen human connection in conversations at work
- The barriers to being curious and developing conversational courage
- The impact of bringing more of myself into my workplace conversations
- How the virtual world is changing the way we talk together
What will I gain from taking part?
The benefits of taking part in this research include:
- Contributing to cutting edge research into the power of conversation to drive change and create more human, relational and productive organisations.
- Accessing insights and data to more deeply understand how to strengthen human connection through conversations.
- Giving a wider voice to people’s lived experiences of workplace conversations and the impact on their sense of belonging, engagement and motivation.
During the 1-1 interviews participants will be requested to confirm their permission for their name and their organisations name to be included in the report. However, if they wish their contributions to remain confidential, we will use pseudonyms to protect their anonymity.
The survey will be anonymous and capture the following information: gender, age, ethnicity, job level, area of work and region.
Data will be stored at the office of The Conversation Space. It will be secure and retained for a period of two years. After that, the surveys and phone recordings of interviews will be wiped and the transcripts destroyed.