Effective Conversations: Thinking Together

Effective Conversations: Thinking Together Emotionally, you can easily sense where you are ‘at’ with conversation. It is an experience of energy and creativity, of fresh thinking and feelings (as opposed to a rehearsal of former thoughts and conditioned feelings, with no one point of view holding all of the truth). You can taste and feel good conversation. Ask yourself, when you are in conversation, whether the other person:
  • Understands your terminology
  • Is clear about the content of the discussion and how to participate
  • Feels safe to reveal what he or she is truly thinking or feeling
  • Is on a similar wavelength to yours – in sync
  • Expresses values and beliefs easily
  • Has few, if any, un-discussable sacred cows
  • Explores issues from multiple perspectives
  • Inquires into deeper meaning
  • Is fully present – in the moment – attuned and alert
  • Says, I get where you are coming from.
  Your task is not to try to persuade the other person, but to make non-judgmental inquiries, to understand their viewpoint, resisting the temptation to defend a position stemming from your more hard-wired feelings and thoughts. When conversation is working well, you can easily accept different views and learn from them.

“I might disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire French writer and philosopher (1694 — 1778)

When sound conversation is happening, you and the person you are coaching are ‘thinking together’ instead of operating out of your own individual thoughts. This ‘thinking together’ produces entirely new solutions and joint ownership, which is needed for enthusiastic implementation. So, listen deeply, avoid serial monologues and instead encourage the other person to voice their views authentically, courageously, openly, and genuinely. It also means learning to be at peace with silence. Read more: Effective Conversations Part 1: Conversation Not Debate Effective Conversations Part 3: Demonstrating Empathy