What does great dialogue look like?
Dialogue is one of the most powerful skills a leader or, in fact, anyone can have.
How we use dialogue with people makes the difference between building good strong relationships built on trust and respect, and not.
We’ve built an Evolved Dialogue model to help you communicate better in everyday conversations at work – use it with your colleagues or as personal development and get in touch to hear more.
What is great dialogue?
Great dialogue is the process by which two or more people discuss something and effectively move forward in some way; perhaps moving forward to a decision or just improving your knowledge and understanding of a situation.
Good dialogue includes all the relevant information and enables people to participate in a valuable way; crucially, it is the art of thinking together and involves working on something together to create the ‘right’ resolution.
Why is dialogue so important?
People only ever meet on a behavioural basis.
When we meet someone, we meet their behaviour: what they say and do, their body language and their actions. It is this that we base our relationships on.
Considering that dialogue (both written and verbal) makes up a huge percentage of that behaviour it stands to reason that our competence in this area will have a big impact on our lives.
When people have great dialogue, they trust each other more; they get to the point quicker and make better quality decisions. Implementation is more effective because people are engaged; they understand the reasoning and their role within it. Great dialogue enables people to develop, to drive performance and hold others to account against the clear expectations they have set. In simple terms, great dialogue drives engagement, growth, speed and effectiveness which in turn delivers ROI.
What is evolved dialogue, then?
Evolved Dialogue is what we do when we are operating at our best. It is how we would be all the time if we always came from a good place, had the right mindset and had developed brilliant dialogue skills. It is what we are aiming for if we want to be the best we can be. Most importantly, we must remember that practising Evolved Dialogue is a personal choice and can be done irrespective of the behaviour of others.
4 mindsets to make great dialogue, based on the Blue Sky Evolved Dialogue model.
Evolved dialogue requires good intent, which in turn drives the right mindset.
This means having a 4 stage mindset that believes in:
Transparency: sharing all relevant information, including your thoughts, feelings and intentions
- What’s going on for me?
- What am I experiencing or noticing?
- Choosing to elegantly share this in the right manner
- Consciousness about what will add value, bringing that into the room to help move things forward for the short, medium or long-term
- It is not always about sharing everything, only the parts that are relevant and will help move the situation forward
Curiosity: being genuinely interested in learning others’ views
- Think about the whole intent, motive and agenda is to sincerely understand different perspectives, rather than use questions to serve your own point, agenda or need
- Ask genuine questions: the desire to learn rather than make a point
- Genuinely listen
- Put your solutions/ideas on hold, in the belief that obtaining more information may serve the outcome needed better
- Believe there is value in what others’ opinions may bring, in the belief that more information may serve the outcome better
- The assumption others may see things you don’t see, rather than you have the answer and believe you are right
Accountability: accepting responsibility for your actions and any short and long-term consequences
- Hold yourself accountable during dialogue
- Choose to do something appropriate with the things you notice, have concerns or ideas about
- Hold other people to account about what’s going on
- Take ownership to raise or address something, even if it doesn’t directly serve your interests or needs
Compassion: being willing to temporarily suspend judgement to appreciate your own and others’ situations
- Recognise your own judgements before you enter a room to identify how they may impact your behaviour, so you can make changes
- Do all the above with empathy and consideration for others
- Recognise when others may be struggling and support them in the conversation appropriately