Is your next meeting a discussion or a dialogue?

Is your next meeting a discussion or a dialogue?

Having your day packed with meetings is a common scenario in business today. Most likely, many of these meetings, are unproductive, for many – if not all – of the attendees. There is a lot of bibliography of tips and tricks you can do, in order to improve the quality of your meetings and these will not be provided in this article. Instead the different aspects of conversation types will be analyzed, as a structural element of meetings. Discussion is the act of people talking in order to reach a decision. When discussing, people defend their position trying to convince the group for the direction that should be taken. In a discussion, the position or title of the members within the organization, affects the gravity of their arguments. Towards the end of the meeting decisions have been taken and the team proceeds accordingly. Dialogue (greek διάλογος, δια: through, λόγος: speech, reason) is a free flow of meaning that comes through the words being spoken. When dialoguing the group has left their positions/titles outside the meeting room. What is being said is important, not who said it. At the end of a dialogue session the group has identified the deeper causes of why a system reacts the way it does. Therefore the group has gained more insight to improve predictability and take more solid decisions later. A meeting can switch between dialogue and discussion. An example of such a meeting in Scrum is the Sprint Retrospective, an event that occurs at the end of each Sprint that aims to improve the way the Scrum Team works together. This event is...