When employees in the workplace complain about a lack of communication, what they really mean is a lack of conversation with a capital C.

Conversation is

  • Collaborative; requiring people to come together with an openness to joint mutual benefit.
  • Controlled; focussed to achieve outcomes in the world.
  • Continuous; we are almost always in some form of conversation, be that internal or external.
  • Critical; to our survival. Everything we have learnt came through conversation and all that we do occurs through conversation.
  • Connection; the shared conversation we have in the background of our life.
  • Competency; it can be learnt.
  • Caring; conversation should always be entered into in a spirit of care.
  • Courageous; many of the conversations we have in life require courage to hold.
  • Character; the conversations you have with others and the way you have them, including those you won’t have are a window into your character.
  • Creation; much of the action we effect upon the world occurs as a result of our conversations (now or in the past).
  • Commitment; promises to the future.

Conversations are language driven by our moods and emotions and are created through our body, occurring within relationships.

The skills of Conversation are:

  • Listening; to what is being said and how you are reacting to it
  • Suspending judgment; don’t assume you know what is being communicated until you’ve had a chance to hear it all and evaluate
  • Identifying assumptions; recognise the assumptions you are making and query their validity
  • Reflection; what have you learned
  • Inquiry; ask questions to clarify understanding
  • Emotional management; your emotions and mood will influence your listening

The purpose of Conversation will vary, and frequently combine many styles such as

  • Conversation for Clarity
  • Conversation for Coordination of action
  • Conversation for Relationship
  • Conversation for Possible future conversations
  • Conversation for Stories and Assessments
  • Conversation for Speculation