Two Practices to Foster Conversations Worth Having

New Book giveaway!!

20 complimentary copies available.

Leave a comment on this guest post by Cheri Torres and Jackie Stavros to become eligible to win one of TWENTY complimentary copies of  “Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement.”

(Deadline: 5/26/2018)

*International winners will receive digital versions.

Winners of last weeks giveaway have been selected and notified.

Conversations are key to health and well-being, good relationships, and ultimately success for organizations. Yet, we usually leave them up to chance.

Leaders who learn to intentionally foster conversations worth having fuel productivity and meaningful engagement. Allowing conversation to flow without attention may be at the heart of poor performance, failure, and lack of engagement.

Conversations worth having are inquiry-based and outcomes-focused.

Focusing on desired outcomes, instead of problems, enlivens people and sparks creativity. Questions that generate new information and possibilities stimulate interest and innovation.

Two practices:

#1. Positive Framing:

Frame conversations to focus on what you want.

If you’ve got a problem, address that issue by flipping the conversation to talk about the outcome you’d have if you didn’t have the problem. For example, poor performance —> quality work that exceeds customer expectations. Which would you rather talk about?

#2. Generative Questions:

Get curious!

Ask questions that build understanding and elicit information, ideas, and possibilities.

Generative questions create more solutions for a problem and often ground them in current experience. For example:

  1. When have we delivered quality work that exceeded customer expectations?
  2. When have you been on the customer-end of receiving quality work that exceeded your expectations?
  3. What can we learn from those stories?

Conversations worth having require the habit of open mind, open heart, and open will.

  1. Trust there is more relevant information than you know.
  2. Assume good intent of all involved.
  3. Ask questions for which you do not know the answer.
  4. Use words that invite and welcome a diversity of perspectives.

Why bother? Because ultimately your level of success depends upon your conversations. Strong relationships, high performance, and innovation are fueled by positive framing and generative questions.

What practices foster conversations worth having?

About the Authors

Cheri Torres and Jackie Stavros co-authored Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement.

Torres is a senior consultant at, partner at Innovation Partners International, and an associate at the Taos Institute.

Stavros is a professor at College of Management, Lawrence Technological University; Appreciative Inquiry strategic advisor at Flourishing Leadership Institute; and an associate at Taos Institute.