Recently I read an article about creating great dialogue for a book or screenplay. Great dialogue draws you in to a book or movie just as great communication can lead to more meaningful human connection and relationships. As I read through the tips shared in the article, it reminded me that we can all benefit from refreshers on how to have powerful conversations – one of the main keys to better and more Thoughtful leadership. So here are a few techniques for writing compelling dialogue that also serve as great lessons in being a better leader.
Let It Flow –
As a writer, getting the perfect dialogue for a character or scene is not easy. But by free-writing the dialogue and letting it flow from your ideas without worrying about using just the right word or making the right attribution, all of your great ideas and lines can come through unfettered. And then once you have allowed that free-flowing creativity, you can then go back and refine as needed.
Leaders are often hampered by the need to get it right – having the right answer, making the right decision. Adopting a “Let it Flow” approach releases that pressure and opens the door to a stronger rush of ideas. Inviting your team together for a free-flowing discussion about an issue you are grappling with or the kernel of an idea that is budding can yield new discoveries, solutions, and directions. And, just as the writer does, the group can then review all of the raw input and refine, condense, and focus as needed.
Cultivate Silence –
In dialogue writing, the “sound of silence” is just as important as words and can convey just as much emotion and action. A pause in the action or wordless emotion makes the dialogue richer, more complex, and invites the reader to imagine all that is unsaid.
Silence as a tool in leadership is also important. It creates space for others to share their thoughts and opinions, and it gives you the opportunity to quiet your mind for a moment to gain greater clarity. The acronym WAIT reminds us to ask, “Why Am I Talking?” when instead we can give others the floor to contribute their ideas and weigh in. Slowly (and silently) counting to ten after you speak will help you to be quiet long enough for others to step in and share.
Polish a Gem –
When you have a good line of dialogue, working at it to perfect it and make it a gem adds punch and memorable lines in a book. This takes effort and a willingness to stick with an idea and see it grow.
The pace at which we all operate today often discourages leaders from taking the time to look for diamonds in the rough and creating gems. What if you made it a point to dig deeper around a good idea, coalesce effort around it, and make it a gem? It certainly is not something you can do with every idea, but making a commitment to give good ideas the time and resources needed to reveal the gems that they are can pay off in huge ways.
Communication is one of the pillars of great leadership, and there are always opportunities and ways to be better at it. These three techniques not only give us great written dialogue, they develop great leadership too.
What techniques help you to create more powerful and Thoughtful communication?
Please leave a comment.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
For ideas on employing these techniques in your leadership, contact Robyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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