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Grounding Conversations

This past weekend brought thought stimulating conversations with a trusted friend. Often we work under the assumption that all of our conversations deliver the needed results. Yet, this is often not the case. We participate in formal meetings, water cooler meetings, and even more casual discussions on the back porch.

In reflecting on what made these conversations work at the most basic level, I was drawn to think about ground rules for conversations. Ground rules are often assumed, but here is a short list that I have been compiling for times when ground rules need to be specified:

• Be Present:
  welcoming yourself first,
  willing to sit in the peace or chaos around you,
  keeping the space open and flexible,
  being open to surprises.

• Participate:
  be willing to listen fully, with pauses for reflection,
  with respect for each person’s voice,
  without fixing, judgment, and advice giving.

• Be courageous:
  inviting and willing to initiate conversations that matter,
  speaking from your own experience,
  finding and using powerful questions
  documenting the answers, patterns, insights, wisdom, action items.

• Be willing to co-create with and include others:
  blending your knowing, experience and practices with theirs,
  developing a working partnership.

With credit to the World Cafe, Open Space Technology, and Appreciative Inquiry communities.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for your inspiration

    July 4, 2010

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  1. Mutually assured distraction « Resources for Organization Development

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