“Two monologues do not make a dialogue.”
~Jeff Daly

Have you ever listened to two people arguing, whether or not you’re one of them? When the pauses between sentences seem to only be an invitation for the other person to jump in with their opinion? When it’s clear to you that neither person is actually listening to, or even hearing, the other?

It is like listening to two monologues, and often the monologues seem to have nothing to do with each other. It is not a discussion. It is not an exchange of ideas. It is not a dialogue.

When we’re caught up in our own monologue, nothing anyone says can get through to us. We know what we need to say, and we say it. No matter what. There’s no room for interpretation, no varying off course.

And if the person we’re supposedly in dialogue with is engaged in their own monologue, our chances of learning from each other, or of reaching a mutual conclusion, is even less.

When we talk with our clients about conflict, we always recommend that they do their best to get on the same side of a problem with the person they’re in conflict with. To go out of their way to hear the other side, and to find the issue that they both share in common. The plight or difficulty that they both want to solve…so that they can join forces and solve it together.

But when I’m caught in my monologue – my determination that you’ll hear and understand my perspective and my needs – I leave no room for joint problem solving, or even joint problem acknowledging. I kill the opportunity for idea sharing, or working out a solution.

I kill the dialogue.

Where have you killed dialogue and how have you brought it back?
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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.

If you want fewer monologues and more dialogues, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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