Listening For What is Trying to Happen

March 1, 2016

Some say open networks are the “biggest predictor of career success.” 

 

Open networks are especially productive when there is an intentional practice to achieve creative dialogue. Dialogue is akin to planting seeds in fertile soil, as opposed to scattering thoughts in the wind of typical conversation. 

 

There is limited value in networking-building until we learn to use inquiry to elicit and honor differing viewpoints. Inquiry is an art and a crucial entry point to developing higher performance, within and across organizations.

 

Inquiry jumpstarts listening. When we inquire, then listen, we’re not thinking what to say next.  We’re open and curious, attuned to the speaker.  We respond with questions to understand better what the speaker said.

 

Want to practice?

 

For one entire day, pay attention in every interaction to notice a “red flag” that something new is trying to happen:

 

What’s the red flag?

 

Ambivalence.  Whenever you hear someone say anything that remotely resembles, “I don’t know...”  that’s your cue to practice.   Your task is simple.  Pose a question like this:

 

“You said you’re not really sure about X. What are your thoughts on it? 

 

If you’re working in a network where inquiry and deep listening are practiced, you can be sure that something different is going to happen there.

 

Inquiry and deep listening invite original expression, new discovery, shared learning. With the simple prompt of a sincere question, unexpected insights show up.  The possibilities become limitless, as we listen for what is trying to happen.

 

What tools are you using to enliven and deepen your conversations?
The SEED team welcomes your stories and feedback: possibilities@seedimpact.org.

 

 

Note:  One of the best of the best dialogue practitioners is Dr. Daniel Martin.  Danny inspired this content and has informed many of our offerings at SEED :  http://www.dannymartin.org/

 

   

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About The Authors

Melinda Lackey is co-founder and director of SEED Impact, which to-date has assisted more than 300 diverse non-profit initiatives to communicate and coordinate action more efficiently, sustain higher performance and achieve greater social impact.

 

Contact Melinda at   possibilities@seedimpact.org

Barry Kibel, Ph.D., is Director of Innovation and Research at SEED.  He contributes more than five decades of experience devising evaluation and planning instruments to support transformational work.

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