https://www.darylwatson.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/CCS-Cards-scaled.jpg 2560 1684 darlwatsmin https://www.darylwatson.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/daryl-watson.png darlwatsmin2023-08-01 05:27:362023-08-01 05:30:41Dialogue
It was an afterthought.
Leaving for the office yesterday afternoon, I nipped back upstairs and picked up my box of CCS cards.
Later, as I started the meeting, I asked each participant to consider a question and then select three cards they regarded to be an answer to the question I posed.
Each participant was holding an identical pack of cards, with the same photographs, illustrations, and words.
Attentively, I watched as each member of the council started to thumb through the deck and select some images that captured their personal point of view.
I smiled, as I watched their faces light up, obviously amused as they shared and compared images with one another, they’d found interesting.
I was struck by their concentration, and evident delight in finding suitable cards that meant something to them in answer to the question I’d asked.
Then, after some time, in our safe space, it was time to share.
I explained a little and observed again.
Quietly, deeply, respectfully, each person asked themselves “what is it that I most want to communicate”?
Randomly, one by one, each person articulated their thoughts with great depth of clarity and understanding, allowing them to speak about what was in their hearts and minds.
The personal insights shared were powerful and thought provoking.
Each participant said something that was true for them and everyone else respectfully listened.
It was clear as participants felt safe to share their half-formed ideas, and discover new meanings in a simple image, the energy in the room began to gather, and the atmosphere started to deepen for the dialogue that followed.
The purpose of the simple activity was to help participants to uncover and talk about their thoughts on the given subject.
Instead of getting down to business straight away as normal, it was just really nice to pause, talk and meet together as fellow human beings, by engaging in a meaningful conversation in a fun way.
It has been my experience as a facilitator, that saying something in a friendly, respectful, and informal way, early in a gathering, can set a pattern of full participation that can help maintain energy levels throughout any meeting.
Setting the scene yesterday, opened up a new way to ensure authentic dialogue throughout our meeting together, where crucially we really listened to one another.
How do you ensure authentic dialogue in your meetings?