Growing to dialogue
Dialogi ja yhdessä ajattelemisen taito
Growing to dialogue
Many of us like I have not been familiar with the dialogue skills and how important they are during our earlier years of lives. In elementary school, secondary school and in high school there were only few occasions where we used dialogue and even then, we didn’t really dig down to it. I have worked with different kind of teams during my military service here in Finland and then it started to become little bit clearer what’s the benefits of the dialogue. First time when I got introduced to dialogue diamond and the concept of dialogue itself was when I started my studies at Proakatemia. Here we learn with dialogue, and we have 120 hours of dialogue sessions in one semester. That’s quite a lot when compared to other schools and universities.
It’s very interesting that such a basic thing as deep communication between people has been underseen and not taught on a regular basis. Now in Proakatemia after couple semester of dialogical work it has become one of the core values of mine. Really being interested in what are people thinking about, how we can help them to speak up and not judging anyone even if our opinions doesn’t match. Since it has become one of the core values of mine, it’s very easy to see places where it is not being used, but it’s not easy to enable it in these places although. Sharing dialogue skills with own example is automatic at this point and I think it can make a positive difference even if the whole setting wouldn’t change right away.
With using dialogue inside the working environment, you can really boost the productivity of the company. Dialogue helps people to work together, and it also makes them closer on a personal level which helps them even more to work together as a team. With a team and working environment that uses dialogue, outside threats become priority number one instead of threats inside the workplace. This means that people can work together without having conflicts with each other and they can tackle the business world problems that comes from outside (Sinek 2014).
When we are talking about this group setting that enables dialogue, we are talking about container. “Container is the circle that holds all, that is symbol of wholeness and a setting in which creative transformation can take place” (Isaacs 1999). It’s a created space between individuals with consent and consciously throwing yourself to the world of dialogue. Being aware that now is time for dialogue and nothing else. Container creates pressure but not necessarily bad type of it. The pressure in the container can boost and help dialogue. Pressure is usually created when people open about themselves and the test of the strength of the container is when questions are being asked. There is no way around them and people must face them together. Isaacs asks in his book “Is it possible to create containers that can hold the fire of creation” (Isaacs 1999). The question is about the container and it’s ability to carry heat created by the participants. When the container can take this heat, dialogue is being boosted. The container creates psychological safety with dialogue safety next to it (Isaacs 1999).
Creating the container starts with three key elements which are energy, possibility, and safety. Dialogue can be very effective and productive when these elements are on present. Usually, you can sense these things before any word has been spoken. Dialogue that uses these elements, can create conversations that haven’t happened before. In creating container, the location matter too. Choose a place where acoustics are good, and everyone can be heard without shouting or standing up. As an individual too it’s good to do self-reflection and think about the acoustics inside you, what sounds, and thought can be heard and what also can be said. Creating dialogue is unique process that requires physical place for everyone to fit in and that’s also optimal for dialogue, also it needs the effort in creating the container and also effort as individuals to reflect on yourself and thinking how you can contribute to the dialogue in a constructing way (Isaacs 1999).
I believe that when more people become aware of dialogue and importance of it, it will spread. Because it’s very hard to not do anything once you learn it. Proakatemia is excellent place to learn it and after the studies and we can help other environments to enable dialogue once we go there.
Sinek, S. 2014. ”Why good leaders make you feel safe”. Luento. Youtube-video. Julkaisija TED 19.5.2014. Viitattu 10.11.2023.
Isaacs, W. 1999. Dialogue and art of thinking together. New York: Doupleday.