Dialogue…What’s the point?

November 9, 2008

     As I read Nancy Dixon’s Perspectives on Dialogue, I was shocked to discover several different things.

1. Managers spend 75% of their day in conversation.

I realized that a manager spent a lot of time with other people and that a lot of that time requires interaction with others, I just would not have guessed that 75% of the day is spent in conversation.  When I reflect on my own personal job, I am a manager and I do spend a lot of time involved in conversation.  The conversation that takes place is with many different clients, employees, and, of course, my supervisor. 

2. Dialogue is a special kind of talk.

Up to this point, I naively used the term “dialogue” and “talk” interchangeably.  Dialogue is not simply talking according to Dixon and is not simply “one way”.  This hits close to home to me because many times my conversation end up being “one way” even if I do not mean for them to turn out that way.

3.  Dialogue is a social event and occurs in group settings.

Once again, I never through about it to realize that dialogue should occur in a group setting.  Initially, when I though of dialogue, I thought of two people talking.  Dixon noted that this is what many people think of as well when they think of the word dialogue.

I think that dialogue can be complicated.  When you are in dialogue with one person or a group of people, the people you are in dialogue with are monitoring your tone, your choice of words, what is said, how it is said, and what you failed to say.  On top of all of that, they are also monitoring your body language.  After reading Dixon, I have to say that dialogue is complicated yet essential in any type of organization and relationship.  I feel that relationships and organizations would run much smoother if proper dialogue is established and continues to flow.

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