#S3 Include the other

There may be times that you have felt that a conversation is dominated by one person. They set the agenda and determine what the conversation is about. This may be consciously or unconsciously done but influences the conversation in a significant way.

There are ways of having conversations that are not dominated by one of the people involved.

#S3.1 Allow collaboration from the start

Briefly

Inclusion is an attitude, not a set of methods. The very first contact establishes the tone of the meeting and conversation. You can set an inclusive and collaborative tone when you set up the meeting.  

The context

You want to have an important conversation with another person. You want to include them as much as possible. You have to set a date and time for the conversation. You could write and suggest a time and place – or you could think inclusion and collaboration from the start.

The problem

People who are in a position of power in relation to another (facilitators, mediators, officials, experts) may be open in a conversation, but don’t realise that the interaction starts already when the meeting is arranged. 

Design element

Ensure that the very first contact encourages participation and joint decision-making. Meetings have to be set up. You can open up to participation from the very first sentence: “is this a good time to speak?” 

Having explained that you would like to have a conversation, you can ask when it would suit the other person and where they would like to meet. You could even go further and ask how they would like to have the meeting, over a cup of coffee, a drink, lunch or taking a walk. Or would they prefer the office or a Zoom call?

This sets the tone for the conversation from the very first contact. You demonstrate an openness to include the other person in the seemingly trivial decision as to when and where the meeting will be held and possibly its form. 

 

Linked patterns

  • Time to reflect
  • Harvesting the insights

#S1.2 Mirroring

Briefly

In the context of small conversations, mirroring is simply for one of the participants or the facilitator saying what they heard another person say and checking if they understood correctly.  This can be built into the design of the conversation by agreeing to use mirroring from time to time. 

The context

You are anticipating that the conversation will become heated or confusing. It may also be that a perfectly good conversation suddenly speeds up or becomes confusing. 

The problem

When the tension rises in a conversation, people often express themselves less clearly. On the other hand, people often don’t hear a perfectly clear statement because they are thinking about how to reply.  

Design element

 

 

Linked patterns

  • Time to reflect
  • Harvesting the insights