On a personal level, the reasons for communication are self-evident. We wish to relay a message or make a request. Dialogue is arguably the most meaningful exchange in personal communication. Dialogue is distinguished from conversation, debate or discussion by the fact that with ‘true dialogue’ there are two critical factors that do not exist in other forms of communication.
These are the need to listen; listen in true dialogue is defined as hearing the other person’s position without waiting to interject, and without bias. The other is the intrinsic instinct for dialogue that is inherent in all of us and is an underlying basis of understanding that goes beyond conscious dialogue to something much deeper, which is a communal dialogue. Dialogue is the foundation of meaningful exchange but that isn’t just true for personal relationships. In business too, dialogue is a critical function for defining intent and setting goals.
Regular departmental and management meetings ensure that company talent is being shared and great ideas conveyed to the larger group. When dialogue replaces dictum in corporate environments the results are collaborative buy-in; a simple yet elusive formula for many companies. Workplace dialogue is gold bullion. Nurturing and retaining the mining of that bullion should be the goal of every communications department that seeks to evolve and change. In the past, a company could get away with a hierarchical approach to company communications but not today. Dialogue is imperative but also fraught with obstacles.
Great ideas that don’t happen at the office.
One of our company advisers, Richard Webster, is an internationally renowned author who talks in one of his many books about the ideas that come to us in our sleep. For me it’s the massage table – that gloriously relaxed state – that is conducive to creative thought flow not possible while sitting at the computer. Group communication dynamics, those great brainstorming sessions that occur during corporate dialogue, are often taken out of context or misconstrued by those who weren’t present but must nonetheless now pass on the message or intent. The environments that are conducive to great thought are not necessarily the best for thought retention, or for relaying the integrity of the thoughts in purity. The fact that great ideas don’t just happen at the office has been, in the past, one of the greatest obstacles to the conveyance of brilliant ideas.
Record dialogue and ideas to retain integrity.
That’s where smartphones come in as a useful tool for corporate communications. We all have one, or will have in the very near future. We can use our smartphones to capture and share those golden ideas, and that rare and precious dialogue that defines the difference between mediocre and fabulous. A smartphone won’t come up with the ideas but when, as an effective communications department, you work those things out; the smartphone will record these ideas and dialogues and enable you to retain them purely. Recording thoughts isn’t just useful for corporate communications; it can be the catalyst for change, or the basis of fresh dialogue, when shared in personal communications.
Nothing will ever replace evocative dialogue as a means for growing personal relationships or conveying intent in corporate settings, but today’s technology does provide us with tools for better communication, tools we never would have dreamed of even a few short years ago.