Dialogue – Creating something valuable together
How do I communicate
Every human being is using dialogue in their everyday life. Communication is used by each creature that runs wild on the earth , does not matter if you are a human being, a dog or a fish swimming in the pond. Every creature with brain activity is communicating with their species and other living creatures. Dialogue is also used to describe communication in books, theaters and movies. It’s easier to follow the content, when there is a ongoing dialogue.
The difference between dialogue and debate is simple. When debating we are looking for the winner and loser. In dialogue on the other hand, we are not supposed to find a winner or a loser. The main purpose of dialogue is to understand other people’s visions. (Holm, Poutanen & Ståhle, 2018).
When having a dialogue, everyone should be equal. We should remember that each and everyone of us have the same rights and our opinions matter. Even if someone is more educated or in possession of higher position, it should not affect our dialogue. According to the article I am reading, an American professor Daniel Yankelovich has stated, “that people with higher education and leader position might think that they are treating everyone equally, even if its not true.“ We should not think too much about hierarchy and it should not affect our communication, even tough it does.
It´s important to understand and to listen others’ opinions. Even if we think that this is not a person I would learn anything from, you might be surprised how their opinions might change your whole way of thinking. I have faced this situation many times in my life. Specially when I was younger and had much more expectations. I have had expectations of a person based on their looks and behavior, but when we have been discussing about a specific topic they have proved me wrong. Therefore, we should not judge people based on their looks, but we do. We can’t help it, I believe its human nature.
The people included in the dialogue must be ready to back their beliefs and confront others opinions. I have learned that people see the world so differently and it’s impossible to know how someone else sees the world. Even if I think something is right or wrong, there might be people that do not agree on this vision. Dialogue is a good way of finding out others’ opinions. I personally had quite a lot of situations in past which included confrontation and problems, as I did not understand how people are so different. By age and experience I have learned to listen to people, regardless of how they look like, how old they are and from where they are from. I think it is normal that when you are young, you think that you are always right and it might be hard to admit to be wrong or that someone else’s opinion might actually be good. Admitting that you were wrong and chancing your opinion are valuable things to learn in your life. The real purpose of dialogue is for people to find a common conclusion to the subject.
Trust is important, without trust there cant be a dialogue. When trusting the people, you listen to their opinions as you appreciate them. Trusting the people, you can openly share your thoughts without the fear of being judged.
I think it was wise what Bohm said that: “without the experiences of others and hearing other people’s opinions and thinking’s you can’t really understand your own point of view. Its your reality and without other peoples feedback it can’t be very difficult to internalize them. “(Bohm 2003).
“Expectations are premeditated resentments.” ( Johnson 2018).
Expectations might cause unrealistic feelings among people that if we believe in something, we think it might actually happen. Well, this is not true. Even if when we are children some psychologists think that we live in two worlds and it might be hard to recognize which one is real. He also stated that children under 7 years old might believe that if they are thinking of a new bike, tomorrow they might get a new bike. In my eyes this is more believing than expectations. Later it has been shown with studies that actually many adults continue to believe in this “magical thinking” as they say. I personally think that by thinking good things will follow does have a positive impact on the outcome. ( Johnson 2018 )
People also pin memories of their happy moments, so by experiences we know that some expectations will make us happy. For some it might be a simple cup of coffee in the morning. For me this would be going to the gym. I know it makes me happy from the experience. I will not get the happiness feeling, if I just imagine that I would go to the gym. That would be nice! Unfortunately the abs are not growing just by dreaming. ( Johnson 2018 )
Expectations are human and we should have them. But we should also remember that everything does not always go the way we would like and that we should be prepared for disappointments. Personally, I usually don’t put my expectations too high, so I will not be so disappointed. And people are what they are. We should not try to change people’s behaviors because of our expectations. I believe this happens quite often. Especially when women catch a man who is known to be ladies’ man, the woman thinks that by expecting the man to behave the way they would like to, they can somehow change the man’s behavior. When choosing a person to share your life with, learn to respect their behaviors and discuss about it. But believe me that only because of your expectations, his actions will not change. Unspoken expectations are most likely to fail. If your angry and snappy at your house, your husband can’t know what is wrong with you unless you speak about it. Communication is a key for a successful relationship.
Important skills in dialogue
The ability to manage your emotions – Maybe the most important skill is to be able to control your emotions. This is a skill you can work on and rehearse it. If you feel like your easily annoyed and motional when someone is confronting you. You should find a way to “bite your teeth” like we have a saying in Finland. Large group of people like our team, might also get frustrated since there is simply not enough time to express your opinions. Then there are the ones who simply decide to be quiet as someone is probably going to express similar thoughts. There should be a balance so that everyone would learn to first think and then to speak. There are different exercises such as fish tank and “speak out” cards. (Roman 2005, 21).
Ability to listen – You need to be able to shut down your own thinking and brain activity and just listen. For me this is very hard sometimes, as I am already thinking what do I want to say next. We should take time, listen and think if our opinions have changed since the last person was talking. If we listen, we also might come up with questions that has risen. There are courses that teaches listening. For me , these were very beneficial , so I learned how to listen to people. I still have the problem to speak up too quickly after someone finishes their sentence. (Roman 2005, 19).
Speak – How are you expressing yourself and your thoughts. How are you expressing your experiences, interests and views without judging or attacking other people? It’s always good to be honest but sometimes you might need to embellish things a bit. Remember to be respectful to others and don’t stigmatize the whole ethnic group even if you have some bad experiences. You can have different opinion of the subject and you should not feel ashamed about it. Be the idiot. Speak out if you don’t understand the other person’s view. Ask questions. (Roman 2005, 61).
There should be a space between people having dialogue where they are exploring things together. We should try to avoid the situation where someone with higher status is speaking, and we are immediately falling for their opinions. The people holding leading positions, should try to avoid being in the center of dialogue. Let others speak first before expressing your opinion. (THL 2022)
It is important for all of us to have the right to be heard. We all should have person that listens to us. It has been proved that it reduces stress and even harness some powers we did not know that we have. Since we are babies, we are looking for companion, person to hear us out. As soon as someone gives empathy to a baby, the baby feels more calm and they have more positive mindset. So, when a baby feels terrified and is crying, even a small touch by the parent can make the baby feel safer and stop crying. There are lot of gestures expressing that we are listening. It might be just our eye contact, small nodding, or a smile. ( THL 2022)
Dialogue is great tool, when we are trying to solve a problem, find solutions and learn from each other’s.
Dialogue in the eyes of team coach
I read interesting article that was written by Heikki Tolvanen, a senior team coah of Tiimiakatemia. In the article he is discussing about what is dialogue in the eyes of a coach. It’s easy for the coach to identify each roles in a team. Who is extrovert and always eager to express their opinions. Who is introvert, who is terrified of the circle of chairs rounded up in the class room. A good way to interrupt the people discussing with each other is to raise a hand. There are these 4 important rules in dialogue as Heikki said: “direct talk, respectfulness, listening and waiting. “ (Toivanen 2020)
There are people that gets easily excited about some subjects and takes lead in the conversation. This might be a problem for the team coach as they have been thought not to get involved when the situation is incendiary. (Toivanen 2020)
Team coach is there to guide, but no to guide too much. Their role is to stay quite and let teammates find answers and take lead in dialogue. The teaching method is very different from the normal school teaching method. (Toivanen 2020) In junior high school there was a teacher who teaches the class. The students were there listening and sometimes answering tough questions made by the teacher. I could never imagine we would start a discussion and learn from finding out by ourselves. So, this is totally new way of learning and teaching. I have very much started to like this method.
The students are supposed to get excited because of dialogue and wanting to find information. There should always be questions in the air, that student wants to find answers to.
Psychological safety comes to the picture when speaking about dialogue. The more safe we feel, the better the communication is. When we trust the people, we can be creative, speak out without having to doubt if I am making a food out of my self or someone will laugh at my opinions. We should be comfortable around the team to speak out our opinions. If we do not have psychological safety within the team, the dialogue is often let to be weak and flavorless. This affects so many things, it reflects on learning from each other and how can the team perform together. There should be clear roles, designated tasks and safe environment for the team to be driving team. There are many great professors like Edmondson and Kahn, who basically says that you need to be able to make a fool out of your self in front of your team without the need to be embarrassed or feel awkward. The team should be your family and you should feel comfortable around them. They can support you, if you reveal your darkest secrets to them. I do not relate on revealing my creates secrets as I have my “safety net” outside of school and for me it has been always clear boundaries what I am sharing with my work environment and what is classified as personal matters. This is not the case for everyone and opening up some painful details could help us to get to know this person and give empathy. Lot of us do not have the outside safety net and we could in the best case be that. Give the team a chance to be your family. Trust the process, as they say in Proakatemia (Hökkä 2020,18). There are also several statements from research that shows that person will more likely not express their opinions if they don’t feel safe, as they believe it will somehow show the others as weakness or being unprofessional. ( (Hökkä 2020,20). Even tough in our learning method the leader is always in same line with everyone else, it has affect on the team how the so called leader behaves. My golden rule for this is : Lead by example that was carved in my brain during my earlier work experience journey. I believe it has a great affect on the team. Someone should show example, be on time and deliver expectations. It’s easier for the team to learn what is expected and follow that example. Conclusion for this is that safety environment is not mandatory for the team, but if we are aiming for excellence and success it would be beneficial to be in a trusted environment so we could fully focus on the given tasks and our projects. (Hökkä 2020,21)
I personally come from very different work environment, compared to Proakatemia. Our leadership style was very different. My old work environment was very high hierarchy styled. There was a leader who told workers what to do. Things were never discussed. There was only one way of working and there was no space to change the structure. Very old-fashioned way of leading, I would say German style. So, in the beginning I joined Proakatemia, I found myself seated in a circle and trying to discuss with strangers a bit weird and awkward. But after these 6 months I have started to fancy it. It’s a great way to get excited and inspired by others’ opinions. I have learned a lot about psychology and gained many precious business ideas from my teammates already in this short time. There is always more to learn and ways to develop your skills. I am learning a totally new way of leadership. And I have to say I prefer this technique. I am eager to learn more about buddy leadership techniques and this innovative free style leading. World keeps developing, so should we. I have started to use our learnings from dialogue in my life outside of school and find it very beneficial. Listen to your partner, friends or family. You might see that their opinions are totally different than yours, but it is not a bad thing. Maybe you can learn from them and change your own opinions. But remember to stay yourself, don’t change your opinions just because someone else thinks that your wrong. Improve yourself, learn and grow. Be better in conversations and dialogues. Listen & respect.
Bohm, D. 2003. On Dialogue. Taylor & Francis eLibrary.
Holm, R. Poutanen, P. Ståhle, P. 2018. Webiste. Read on 7.2.2022. Link: https://www.sitra.fi/artikkelit/mika-tekee-dialogin-dialogisen-vuorovaikutuksen-tunnuspiirteet-ja-edellytykset/
Hökkä, S. 2020. Psykologinen turvallisuus tehokkaan tiimityön mahdollistajana. Bachelor’s thesis. Written on 6/2020. Read on 9.2.2022. Website. Link: http://jultika.oulu.fi/files/nbnfioulu-202006102310.pdf
Johnson, J. 2018. The Psychology of Expectations. Posted on 17.2.2018. Read on 8.2.2022. Website. Link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cui-bono/201802/the-psychology-expectations
Roman, J. 2005. A Study of Organizational Dialogue. Helsinki University of Technology. Doctoral dissertation. Read on 7.2.2022. Website. Espoo: Monikko Oy. Link: http://lib.tkk.fi/Diss/2005/isbn9512277034/isbn9512277034.pdf
THL. Dialogisuus ammattilaisen ja perheen välillä. Updated on 14.1.2022. Read on 8.2.2022. Website. Link: https://thl.fi/fi/web/lapset-nuoret-ja-perheet/kehittyvat-kaytannot/dialogiset-toimintavat/dialogisuus-ammattilaisen-ja-perheen-valilla
Toivanen, H.2020. Dialogi luo itseohjautuvuutta. Tiimiakatemia Senior Team Coach. Published 1/2020. Read on 9.2.2022. Website. Link: https://tiimiakatemia.com/blogi/heikki-toivanen-dialogi-luo-itseohjautuvuutta/