Genuine conversations

Raymond Tse has been on a training programme in communications.

This got me thinking about the quality of blog conversations. Certainly there are more voices. The intent is there with thought provoking concepts like Hugh Macleod’s Smarter Conversations.

However many blog conversations go like following:

1.I have an opinion and broadcast my point of view (POV). You will either agree with me and link me OR you will disagree and write how I am wrong and you are right and link me.

2.We will write a series of follow up posts further detailing how right we are and how wrong the other is. Attack – defend – attack – defend… Both of us will link to the growing coalition of bloggers who agree with out POVs.

3.Occasionally the great majority will pile onto the same side (e.g. Lovemarks) and produce a frenzy of idea fundamentalism – where non-believers are not tolerated.

Does this really facilitate genuine conversations discovery or learning ? Possibly but I suspect that we can improve the quality of conversations by advancing our ideas – ideas rather than absolute truths – and inviting conversation and debate.

What do you think ?

Good question one I ask myself a lot.

I think there’s room for both approaches, and lots inbetween. Sometimes, a furious exchange of colourful positions may be what it takes to break a cosy consensus. Sometimes this is how elephants under the table get named. I think politeness gets over-rated and expressions of anger get stigmatised.

At the same time, I yearn for more of those open-ended conversations, where we aren’t either a)talking or b)reloading. They take on a very different quality and I find they start to hint at a great deal of connection that is going on between people below the surface level exchanges.

I’m increasingly drawn to working with organisations that want to improve the quality of their conversations; I suspect that this is often a more powerful intervention than showing up from the outside with a new strategic vision.

I’m part way through William Isaacs’ book Dialogue and it’s pretty interesting stuff. I’ll be blogging more on this.

1 thought on “Genuine conversations

  1. kundalini

    Dialogue is a good book. Fascinating stuff.

    The principle is so simple yet so difficult to do well.

    In many ways I prefer William Isaacs’ stuff to Peter Senge and his 5th discipline books. I seem to recall Isaacs wrote one of the chapters in one of the later ones in the series. Might have been the Dance Of Change.

    Reply

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