Speak from the heart
. When sincerely moved to make a contribution, speakhonestly from your own experience. Speak into the stream of developingcommon understanding, not just to fill silence or to have your positionheard.
. Hold at bay your certainties and assumptions. Suspendany need to be right or have the correct answer. In fact, try to suspend anycertainty that you, yourself, are right.
Hold space for differences
. Embrace different points of view as learning op-portunities. Don't counter with "but." Instead, contribute with "and." Remainopen to outcomes that may not be your outcomes. Encourage contributionsfrom those who have remained silent.
Slow down the inquiry
. Provide silent time to digest what has just been said.Allow further conversation to flow naturally, develop and deepen. Masteringthese guidelines requires consistent practice to release the habitual ways of thinking, speaking and listening.For
to succeed, participants must be truly presentand filled with intention and energy. A good way for the leader to start is topost these five basic guidelines, explain each briefly, and then provide op-portunities for practice. Once the group comes on board with enthusiasm,the leader might ask them to help assess the quality of the group interactionand suggest ways to improve the conversation.
Raymond D. Jorgensen, Ph.D.
has spent the past 30 years studying organiza-tions and the concept of organizational change theories and parlayed thisknowledge into the concept of Conversational Leadership, an insightful, the-ory-based method of conducting more effective meetings which taps into thecollective wisdom of a group and leads to higher quality relationships forhigher quality results. Ray consults, facilitates and conducts workshops fororganizations on Conversational Leadership, with a proven track record of af-