Communication is a basic activity in our lives. Every word we speak is a form of dialogue.
As leaders we aim for great communication which leads to deeper connections, but most of us get in trouble when we don’t listen to one another.
Too often we speak at each other or past each other or tune each other out.
The problem may lay in the fact that we don’t know what it takes to have a meaningful dialogue.
The chit chat, the noise, the transference that is going on around us is all so distracting.
Are we really listening to each other?
Are we paying as close attention as we should?
Do we understand the heart of listening?
Are we engaging in meaningful exchanges?
What we seem to be missing is the nucleus; the DNA of dialogue. We need to find its meaning.
We need to understand that applying emotional intelligence to our conversations is a sure way for leaders and organizations to accomplish what “talking” cannot achieve, and what conversations are not accomplishing.
DNA of dialogue is about feelings.
Feelings are at the heart of every good conversation and relationship. Feelings like passion and pride, silence and silliness, let us know that we are alive.
Failure to acknowledge our feelings derails us from having meaningful dialogue.
If we do not express our feelings, we run the risk of our feelings leading the conversation. Unexpressed feelings make it difficult for us to listen to others. When we feel our feelings we learn to understand others and gain insight into ourselves.
DNA of dialogue is about listening.
Listening is about paying attention with intention.
It means not just listening to the words, but listening to the unspoken words, to the space where silence resides.
Meaningful dialogue involves listening with empathy and searching for common ground.
It’s about learning to listen from inside out. Listening can transform any conversation once we learn that there is more than meets the ear.
DNA of dialogue is about respecting.
Respect makes space for us to hear what others are feeling and thinking.
When you respect others they respond. They respond by letting their thoughts and voice to be heard. “I learn from you as I allow you to speak”. Respect permits my mind to be open and my heart to hear.
Meaningful dialogue requires that all the participants have equal standing, and that they listen with respect and empathy.
DNA of dialogue is about suspending.
Suspending is exploring new ideas and perspectives, and bringing unexamined assumptions into the open without judgment.
Suspending makes room for where something is and where something is becoming.
It’s not about being right or wrong, or better or worse. Meaningful dialogue happens when we suspend our opinions, step back, change direction and see with new eyes.
DNA of dialogue is about voicing.
Voicing is about asking open ended questions, instead of wanting to persuade and get our way.
Perhaps we should permit another to speak, to question, and to reason. Maybe we could voice our compassion and concerns. Meaningful dialogue is aimed at fostering mutual insight and common purpose.
By voicing care, we may hear from another and we may learn something significant that changes the way we process problems.
The fact is that people who learn the DNA of Dialogue have a new approach for dealing with the most challenging conversations. It provides both a deeper and heightened sense of freedom and flexibility in difficult communication.
The profound power of meaningful dialogue achieved is by harnessing the best of the collective thinking.
It becomes a whole, instead of the voice of one. It becomes the voice of many that are working on the problem, situation or circumstance.
LEAD FROM WITHIN: No matter where you stand in life, learning and leveraging the DNA of Dialogue will help with all human relationships and leadership.
This post has been inspired by @mjasmus, a thought leader on Twitter. A few weeks ago she wrote an amazing post Dialog as a Radical Act If you have not been to her blog, please visit and visit often. I know I do.