|Conversations That Matter [Relationship]|
|In our age of animation, robots and 'Second Life' it is sometimes hard to remember that humans are in fact the only species given the gift of speech. And what are we doing with that gift? How many times have we retreated into silence rather than risk a confrontation? How often have we shut down conversation because what we might hear could make us profoundly uncomfortable? How often have we hesitated to speak honestly because we can't trust that there will be a receptive audience? In politics, in boardrooms, in classrooms and around our dinner tables amazing things can happen when we create the conditions for sincere and open conversation. This month I share with you several resources that will both inspire you to host these kinds of conversations and give you some basic tools to do it well because sadly, we are all a little rusty. |
In "Can We Talk?" Vicki Robin, shares what she calls three "minds" of hosting that are valuable reminders for all of us as we speak to the people in our lives. She is co-founder of Let's Talk America. Their website is filled with practical resources for hosting conversations at multiple levels of complexity ranging from your living room to your city.
An inspirational and accessible book worth reading before you spend time with family and friends this Thanksgiving is Turning to One Another by Margaret Wheatley. Parts one and two of the book lay out Wheatley's beliefs about conversation and its transformative power. Part three offers us 10 conversation starters -each a short essay framed around an essential question. You might use these exact questions and they may simply point you toward a model for the questions that are essential in your own world. I leave you with this quote from Wheatley:
"Life doesn't move in straight lines and neither does a good conversation. When a conversation begins people always say things that don't connect. What is important at the start is that everyone's voice gets heard, that everyone feels invited into the conversation. If you're hosting the conversation, you may feel responsible for pointing out connections between these diverse contributions, but it's important to let go of that impulse and just sit with the messiness. The messy stage doesn't last forever... We don't always get it right the first time and we don't have to. We need to settle into conversation."