Art of Conversation - Workshop


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A half-day workshop version of the Art of Conversation content. How conversation makes both individuals and groups smarter, and how it helps with innovation.

The videos used in this workshop are (as per noted on the slides):

Table 7:

The Courage Beer Conversations Survey:

Where Good Ideas Come From:

We Think:

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  • Talk about conversation The importance of conversation How it can actually make us smarter
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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  • Art of Conversation - Workshop

    1. The Art of Conversation: All of us are smarter than any of us Keith De La Rue
    2. Using communication <ul><li>Improve group performance </li></ul><ul><li>Increase innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Make us individually smarter </li></ul>
    3. Getting there <ul><li>Introductions </li></ul><ul><li>Openness to change </li></ul><ul><li>The power of groups </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation and sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Making it happen </li></ul><ul><li>… Have a conversation and have some fun! </li></ul>
    4. Table 7
    5. Talking to others improves individual mental function Friends with cognitive benefits - Ybarra et al, 2010
    6. Brief, friendly conversations improve executive function - working memory, focus
    7. Put yourself in other shoes
    8. Activity 1 – Introductions <ul><li>Introduce yourself by giving: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where you were born </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One interesting true statement about yourself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One false statement about yourself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>( Not necessarily in that order!) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The rest of the group will decide which is which </li></ul>
    9. The Johari Window © Alan Chapman 2003
    10. <ul><li>Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards – Theodore Zeldin </li></ul>From David Gurteen -
    11. <ul><li>&quot;...The kind of conversation I'm interested in is one which you start with a willingness to emerge a slightly different person. It is always an experiment, whose results are never guaranteed. It involves risk. It's an adventure in which we agree to cook the world together and make it taste less bitter&quot; </li></ul>
    12. In conversation we… <ul><li>Transform facts </li></ul><ul><li>Reshape them </li></ul><ul><li>Draw new implications </li></ul><ul><li>Develop new trains of thought </li></ul>
    13. We must be open… “ We risk impoverishing ourselves if we ignore the personal” - Gurteen
    14. Conversation is intrinsically creative
    15. <ul><li>… If we are prepared to change. </li></ul><ul><li>The way we talk shapes what we do </li></ul><ul><li>If we talk differently, life can be more interesting </li></ul>
    16. Activity 2 – Changes <ul><li>Form into groups of two </li></ul><ul><li>Spread around the room </li></ul><ul><li>Wait for further instructions… </li></ul>
    17. Change <ul><li>How much do we think we can change? </li></ul><ul><li>How much can we actually change? </li></ul><ul><li>How ready are we to change? </li></ul>
    18. The Courage Beer Conversations Survey
    19. Evidence for a Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups - Woolley et al, 2010
    20. Ability to perform group tasks <ul><li>Independent of individual intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Whole greater than sum of parts </li></ul><ul><li>Based from how the team works together </li></ul>
    21. Collective intelligence <ul><li>Social sensitivity </li></ul> Equal turns No domination
    22. Women and conversation <ul><li>More sensitivity </li></ul>
    23. Leadership challenge: facilitation, not control <ul><li>Not easy for hierarchical organisations - or rugged individualists </li></ul>
    24. Activity 3 – Discussion <ul><li>When have meetings failed ? </li></ul><ul><li>When have they worked well ? </li></ul><ul><li>Would they have worked better if these patterns were followed? </li></ul>
    25. Positive language <ul><li>Words > Pictures > Emotions > Actions </li></ul><ul><li>Anyone have children around? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Don’t spill the milk!” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Don’t take out all the pencils!” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Don’t forget…” </li></ul>
    26. Where Good Ideas Come From
    27. Innovation – the Eureka moment? <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>
    28. … Don’t isolate the genius in the laboratory! The adjacent possible The multiple
    29. The Enlightenment – C17
    30. Wisdom of crowds – cognitive problems <ul><li>Diverse membership </li></ul><ul><li>Members thinking independently </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge pooled </li></ul> From: James Surowiecki
    31. We Think
    32. Get people together in conversation Community
    33. Conversations for knowledge sharing and innovation – the café concept See:
    34. Conversational tools
    35. Microblogging
    36. Networking, awareness, chat!/groups/323447999676/ Any conversation helps!
    37. Conversations help us… … find the missing pieces
    38. Facing complexity in organisations Engaging people
    39. Exercise 4 – Knowledge Café <ul><li>Break into tables of four – choose the people who are the most different to you </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss: </li></ul><ul><li>How can we use what we have learnt about conversation to better communicate in the international workplace? </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss for 10 minutes, then move to another table </li></ul><ul><li>Wrap up with open discussion </li></ul>
    40. Five rules for more innovative conversations
    41. <ul><li>Have we all been introduced ? </li></ul>
    42. <ul><li>Is the talk friendly and constructive? </li></ul>
    43. <ul><li>Is everyone open and willing to change ? </li></ul>
    44. <ul><li>Are we all taking equal turns ? </li></ul>
    45. <ul><li>Do we have sufficiently diverse viewpoints? </li></ul>
    46. <ul><li>Let’s talk about it… </li></ul>@kdelarue 0418 51 7676 [email_address]