Curiosity Killed the Cat

by Ron Potter

But, Lack of Curiosity killed the DOG (DialOGue)

Dialogue is a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, most of the time we end up discussing topics. As shared in previous blogs, the word discussion has the same root word as percussion; Banging the drum; Beating on the table; Clanging the symbol. Discussion is “won” by percussing the loudest or most persistent. Not the best way to reach conclusions on difficult or contentious issues.

So why do we discuss rather than dialogue?

Because discussing is taking a side, defending your beliefs, getting your point of view across, winning an argument. Dialoguing is being open to others ideas; opening up your mind to alternatives or innovative ideas that haven’t been discovered yet.

The form of listening you use will go a long way in determining whether you discuss to win a point or dialogue to reach a better solution.

Image Source: Ky, Creative Commons

Image Source: Ky, Creative Commons

When we listen with the intent to respond, we’re preparing for discussion. We’re loading up our ammunition to either counter or reinforce any and every given point that is being discussed. We’re getting ready to beat our drum louder

But, when we listen with the intent to understand we’re preparing for dialogue. We’re getting as clear as we can about the issues, belief and assumptions and goals of each participant. The best way to accomplish this is through curiosity. There are many things in our lives that we’re curious about. When we’re curious about a topic we listen deeply, we probe to improve our understanding, we read as much as we can about the topic, we want to know why and when things happen, we want to know the meaning behind the causes.

When you’re facing a tough decision with strong opinions on each side, start with curiosity. Listen with the intent to understand. Dialogue the topic by getting everyone on the same side of the table and actively improving each side of the argument one side at a time. You’ll discover improved decision making.

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1 comment

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[…] in the situation. If you however realize you have chosen to be angry, you can then become curious and begin to gain some control, insight, and value from the […]


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