Long ago I realized that I quickly lost interest during meetings that are essentially serial monologues — speaker after speaker pontificating at great length with few if any opportunities for meaningful, engaging conversations.
As a result, I resolved that whenever possible I would help create professional conversations in meetings and elsewhere that would be meaningful and intellectually stimulating for me and others.
As a starting point to creating such conversations I reflected on my own preferences. I prefer conversations:
• that deeply examine a small number of subjects to those that skate across the surface of many topics,
• in which participants spend at least as much time listening as they do talking,
• in which there is openness to the perspectives of others rather than defensiveness about one’s point of view,
• in which participants learn something important about themselves and each other,
• that strengthen relationships through candor and celebration rather than undermine them through obfuscation and negativity, and
• that use professional literature, research, and other forms of intellectual stimulation as a starting point rather than relying solely on personal opinion and experience, although they may help inform the discussion.
What have I missed?