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Getting Them To Get It - Communicating Beyond The Agile Bubble

How can we help people beyond our Agile bubble to understand what we’re up to? We need to be heard by executives, customers and others – but too often, they just don’t seem to get it. The key may be to say less, listen more, and to build a better model of the person’s world. This session introduces a framework to do that, called Clean Language, and demonstrates how you can use it to make them understand. It’s a constant challenge.

How can we help people beyond our Agile bubble to understand what we’re up to? Whether we’re communicating with executives, with customers or with other people, we need to be heard in order to deliver great work. But too often, they just don’t seem to get it, despite it being so… obvious!!! What if there was a different way of seeing the problem?

Experience from fields as diverse as education, mediation and sales suggests that the key may be to say less, listen more, and to build a better model of the person’s world. In this session you’ll learn to use a conversational inquiry framework to do that. Called Clean Language, it has been shown to be particularly useful in improving communication between diverse individuals in complex contexts. It strengthens relationships, increases transparency and encourages clarity. Clean Language, created during the 1990s by the late David Grove, is being used increasingly by Agile practitioners as a power-up for the ceremonies we know and love. It supports effective communication within teams and can also be used as a stand-alone pattern by Agile coaches. But in this session, we’ll be looking at how it can be used in our wider business contexts.

The session will include a number of exercises which both demonstrate the impact of the approach and provide specific patterns for listening, questioning and model-building which delegates can put into action immediately – during the conference, if they choose! You can expect a lively session with a buzz which continues into the corridors and beyond.

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Getting Them To Get It - Communicating Beyond The Agile Bubble

  1. 1. Getting Them To Get It with Judy Rees If I could show you ‘the nearest thing the FBI have to a Jedi mind trick’, and get you using it yourself within the next few minutes, would that be of interest to you?
  2. 2. Your organisation is like… what? There’s no right or wrong answer! Write (or draw) yours And, what’s a specific context where you’d like them to ‘get it’?
  3. 3. Paying Attention: Parrot Phrasing 1.Person A talks about their answer to: ‘Your organisation is like… what?’ 2.Person B encourages them by repeating their last three words (or three key words)
  4. 4. ‘Of the entirety of the FBI’s hostage negotiation skill set, mirroring is the closest one gets to a Jedi mind trick. Simple, and yet uncannily effective.’ Chris Voss (former FBI lead hostage negotiator) Never Split The Difference
  5. 5. © JUDY REES 2018 A waitress increased her tips by 70% simply by repeating the customer’s order back to them in their own words, rather than saying ‘okay’ or ‘coming right up’ University of Nijmegen, 2005
  6. 6. • People like people who are like them • When you use their words, they infer that you are like them • When it’s done well, this ‘trick’ is invisible
  7. 7. Next Level: Add Metaphor… • One kind of thing in terms of another • The atom of thought • The native language of the unconscious mind • Six per minute!
  8. 8. Guiding Attention Activity • Starter question: ‘Your organisation is like… what?’ • Then ask the 2 Lazy Jedi Questions – any order, as many times as you like: • What kind of X? • Is there anything else about X?
  9. 9. What metaphors emerged? #agileotb
  10. 10. Organisation: Machine or Organism? From Gareth Morgan, Metaphors of Organization
  11. 11. Morgan’s Metaphors Of Organization • Machine • Organism • Brain • Culture • Political system • Psychic prison • Change/flux • Instrument of domination #agileotb
  12. 12. Clean Language • A precision enquiry methodology devised by David Grove (1958 – 2008) • Optimised for difficult human stuff in complex situations
  13. 13. Clean Language Questions Most commonly used: • What kind of X? • Is there anything else about X?
  14. 14. Clean Language Applications Include: • Cross-cultural communication • Team development (eg Antarctica) • Building learning cultures (eg LJMU) • Handling creative tension and conflict
  15. 15. Beyond The Bubble: Tips • Mirror their words • Match their metaphors • Ask questions which guide their attention • Practice and share! #agileotb
  16. 16. How might you use these ways of paying attention and guiding attention in the specific context you thought about earlier? #agileotb
  17. 17. Possible Next Steps • LinkLetter – sign up at judyrees.co.uk • Your Clean Language Questions Answered • Free e-book • http://bit.ly/clqaebook
  18. 18. Contact Judy Rees judy@judyrees.co.uk +447979 495509 @judyrees

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