I was removed from class in primary one along with my friend Mairi – for talking, of course!

It would be some number of years and a huge amount of personal development before I understood the difference between talking to people and having a conversation.

When I say this, I mean conversation as a methodology for change, engagement and innovation. This kind of conversation requires a different kind of listening, a different kind of attention and a real belief that you don’t have all or perhaps any of the answers.

This is not as we Scots would say ‘a blether’ with your friends, neither is it a meeting, a briefing or any interaction that you emerge from unchanged.

I remain in the debt of two amazing women, Anne Radford and Nancy Kline. From Anne, I learned about Appreciative Inquiry and from Nancy, the powerful concept of Thinking Environments. I am personally and professionally changed by this learning, and it has informed my practice for over 15 years.

I have taken these frameworks and layered them with other learning to create a powerful set of practical resources that can, in turn, enable people and teams at all levels to really understand the difference that conversations can make.




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