During this week’s studies of dialogue processes, I focused on inquiry, meditation and presencing. After reading several explanations of mediation, where we learn to pack away thoughts and live in the present, I stared at a glass. I didn’t process it by what it might contain, or what it did contain, but for what it is: a beautifully carved piece of crystal, reflecting and refracting ambient light and shapes. I then considered how we’re innately drawn toward this way of thinking. We’re often caught by the fleeing moment of a beautiful sunset, a graceful melody, a playful child, yet we also place much energy into prejudice and hate based on experiences or predictions. By appreciating the unique creativity of the unknown, foregoing preconceived judgments, we become more aware of our present purpose. This week, I practiced an awareness of body, breathing, emotions and thought.
During my second call with my dialogue coach, we examined some of my conclusions after exercising David Kantor’s four-player conversation model. Kantor suggests actions a person may take during a conversation: movers initiate ideas and transition the conversation; opposers challenge ideas and the conversation; followers complete ideas and support the conversation; bystanders provide perspective on the ideas and conversation. We also considered the implications of creating a “container” for generative dialogue, and whether that container is considered negative or positive. Continue reading
Dialogue leaders work to keep harmony and productivity within a group discussion, thereby supporting the emergence of generative actions. David Kantor’s four-player conversation model suggests actions a person may take during a conversation: movers initiate ideas and transition the conversation; opposers challenge ideas and the conversation; followers complete ideas and support the conversation; bystanders provide perspective on the ideas and conversation. I recently took part in conversations to consciously explore these roles. Afterward, I theorized that movers and opposers are the actors best suited to set direction. The mover is like a skipper charting new waters, while the opposer drops anchors to explore the current waters. Bystanders and followers mostly provide crew support. I developed two theories related to Web-based, threaded dialogue. First, when a compelling perspective is voiced in online conversations, it causes a pause that opens a door for actors to change roles. Second, followers are less relevant online, where conversations include adequate time to respond and an archive to keep thoughts clear. Continue reading
During my first dialogue with my coach, we explored some of the key processes of coaching: listening, mirroring, summarizing, questioning and catalyzing. Our conversation mostly focused on the first two, listening and mirroring. The former requires a coach to help people see their situation and themselves better. The latter involves inviting them into a period of reflection, diving deeper into the information they’ve shared.
When it comes to public statements, I shared that I’m more of a writer than a talker. As someone who’s successfully managed international public affairs programs, and recently completed a state-level public information officer course, I’m confident in suggesting that I’m more comfortable with carefully researching and writing talking points than speaking them. When making statements in public forums, I prefer a shoot-from-the-hip approach. But I shared a contradiction in my conclusion with my coach. On one hand, I prefer deliberate dialogue; on the other, I’m comfortable with rambling without constraints. My coach weakened my claim of a conflict by suggesting I’m simply most relaxed with developing ideas, relating and connecting. Continue reading
People are communicating today at a rapid rate, connecting through participatory media. Dialogue coaches are needed to accelerate an online community’s appreciation for its ability to collaborate, acting as a tool that encourages deeper understandings of the exhibited interpersonal skills. They teach ways to uproot attitudes stuck in past experiences and downloaded assumptions, such as simply talking tough or nice. They look at how people conduct a conversation and offer alternatives and feedback, so they may redirect conversations toward more generative and reflective dialogue.
Dialogue coaches strive for deeper understandings. The term “moderator” has been used to define the role of those who accept an authoritative role in online communities, weeding out unwanted behaviors. It’s dangerous to cover up or delete opinions, since the underlying issue is never addressed. Blocking adverse opinions excites their migration to other platforms. For that reason, online collaboration requires dialogue coaches, more than moderators, to keep information sharing activities meaningful, trustworthy. Through listening, coaches learn to appreciate the influence of personality traits online, and not fight them. Correa, Hinsley and De Zuniga found increased social media use in extraverted people, and people open to new experiences (2010). Emotional instability predicted more regular use by men. Since neuroticism is linked to loneliness, it’s likely that anxious and nervous people use social-networking websites to seek support and company. Continue reading