Why We Need More Meaningful Conversations
It seems like there’s a lot of focus these days on getting people to have difficult conversations. I think that putting more emphasis on consistently having meaningful conversations is more productive, because the more meaningful conversations we engage in, the fewer difficult ones we need to have.
Difficult conversations are typically difficult because the emotional stakes are high. Those stakes get ratcheted up when people avoid having these conversations, which is often the case. By the time people get around to talking about their most pressing issues, both sides are often so entrenched in their positions that it becomes a “win” or “lose” situation. It’s tough to turn those types of conversations into positive experiences that get people respectfully working together towards shared goals.
Meaningful conversations, on the other hand, are those that seek to create understanding and ignite insights by sharing perspectives and ideas earlier in the process. They’re based on the premise of discovery, exploration and mutual respect, rather than the exertion of power and control. They can take some time, but they don’t have to. As people become more skilled at having meaningful conversations it gets easier—and faster—to resolve issues in ways that build trust and commitment.
When meaningful conversations are the norm, people are able to let down their defenses, share their most daring ideas and reveal their unique gifts. That’s why meaningful conversations are essential for establishing and deepening meaningful relationships of any kind, and they are the bedrock that coaching cultures are built on.
Personally, I think the greatest contribution we can make to the world right now is to step fully into our gifts and share them generously, and create spaces where others feel invited to do the same. Whether it’s in our personal lives, our organizations, our communities or on the global stage, there are a lot of meaningful conversations we need to engage in.
Is there a meaningful conversation you need to step into right now?
Dianna Anderson, MCC
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