Art of conversation


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Recent research into the power of conversation, and how it makes us more intelligent, creative and innovative. Presented at trampoline, 16 April 2011.

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  • Talk about conversation The importance of conversation How it can actually make us smarter
  • Zeldin English historian & author W don’t just exchange facts, we transform them reshape them draw different implications from them, and engage in new trains of thought
  • Conversations where we prepared to change The way we talk shapes what we do If we talk differently, life and work can be more interesting Conversations are intrinsically creative
  • Groups can have a consistent ability to perform tasks Independent of the individual intelligence of group members The whole is greater than the sum of its parts Based from how the team works together
  • Collective intelligence was found to correlate with Social sensitivity of group members Absence of domination by a single member Equal distribution of conversational turn-taking
  • Teams with more women had higher collective intelligence Demonstrated greater social sensitivity Not a designed part of the study Socially sensitive people better - regardless of gender Some may not find this surprising
  • Talked here before about “The Idea Monopoly” The group intelligence here does not sit well with individualists or within hierarchies Requires facilitation, not control
  • Conversation is important to innovation The sole brilliant inventor and the “eureka” moment are rare Johnson writes that good ideas happen - by sharing and recombining unrelated ideas Needs conversations by groups of people Connectedness makes us more creative
  • Johnson talks about the ‘adjacent possible’ Some discoveries depend upon others The printing press first needed invention of paper ink movable type Don’t isolate the sole genius in a laboratory
  • Further research has been done by psychologist Oscar Ybarra This shows that certain types of conversations actually improve individual mental function. This is simply talking to other people - The way you do when you're making friends
  • Only needs to be brief – 10 minutes Friendly conversations Looked at one aspect of mental function - executive function - Working memory Self-monitoring Focus Competitive conversations have no effect
  • The aspects of these conversations that helped were – Trying to understand the other person, Putting yourself in their shoes
  • Expand the range of your possible next moves by conversation Communities of Practice
  • Many conversational knowledge sharing tools The Gurteen Knowledge Café open, creative idea sharing World Café
  • Other conversational tools: Peer Spirit Circle Open Space Technology The Art of Hosting - combines a number of these for different outcomes
  • The conversation may not only be face to face; it may be virtual Microblogging tools like Yammer let us carry on the conversation What are you working on?
  • Other tools like Facebook can add to the conversation Here we can tell when people are around to chat at any time – ambient awareness With social media, we can expand our networks
  • So where does this all take us? Conversation can create new knowledge It helps us work together better It helps us to innovate It even makes us smarter individually
  • It is also through conversation that we can address the complexity we find in today’s organisations It’s how we engage people in organisations Conversation and story help us to understand emergence
  • Conversational test
  • Art of conversation

    1. The Art of Conversation: All of us are smarter than any of us Keith De La Rue
    2. Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards – Theodore Zeldin
    3. Prepare to change What we say shapes what we do Conversation is creative
    4. Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups - Woolley et al, 2010
    5. Collective intelligence <ul><li>Sensitivity </li></ul> Equality
    6. Women and conversation <ul><li>More sensitivity </li></ul>
    7. The Idea Monopoly? <ul><li>Not a top-down business meeting </li></ul>
    8. Conversation and innovation <ul><li>Progress is more about one door leading to another door </li></ul><ul><li>- Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing and recombining ideas </li></ul><ul><li>-> Conversation </li></ul>
    9. The adjacent possible … Don’t isolate the genius in the laboratory!
    10. Talking to others can improve individual mental function Friends with cognitive benefits - Ybarra et al, 2010
    11. Brief, friendly conversations Improve executive function – Working memory, focus
    12. Put yourself in other shoes
    13. Get people together in conversation Community
    14. Conversations for knowledge sharing and innovation – the café concept
    15. Conversational tools
    16. Microblogging
    17. Networking, awareness, chat
    19. Facing complexity in organisations Engaging people
    20. The meeting test <ul><li>Have we all been introduced ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is everyone open and willing to change ? </li></ul><ul><li>Are we all taking equal turns ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the talk friendly and constructive? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we have sufficiently diverse viewpoints? </li></ul>
    21. <ul><li>Let’s talk about it… </li></ul><ul><li>The Art of Conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Thomson-Reuters Online Currents </li></ul><ul><li>(2011) 25 OLC 55 – April </li></ul>@kdelarue 0418 51 7676 [email_address]