|Empathic Dialogue the Authentix Way:
Conscious Approaches to Achieving Agreement
|Empathicly Authentic Dialogue
“True dialogue is a process by which we seek ‘containers’ capable of holding more and more of our
experience”, says William Isaacs, a graduate of Dartmouth and the London School of
Economics, who also has a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University, and whose
work in this field has earned respect from Ford, Motorola, and Shell – among many other
clients. “We can see this in the experience of a couple that continuously fights and has no ‘space’ to
understand the tensions they are feeling. We can imagine the change they might feel if they could walk
into the arms of a very wise, understanding friend who could soothe and reassure them ...”
(from "Dialogue & the Art of Thinking Together" by William Isaacs).
Empathic Dialogue the Authentix Way
We can use the principles of empathically authentic dialogue in the boardroom, the bedroom, the shop
floor, the construction site, the customer's office, the family vacation, the relative's visit, even in email
exchanges or blog or forum posts -- indeed almost anywhere. Doing so exercises a spirit of
conversation in which ideas for an opening toward satisfying agreements are woven together in an
increasingly coherent tapestry of both rational and reasonable conceptions and inquiries. This,
however, is merely a logical statement of the theory of dialogue. Putting the theory into practice
involves gaining proficiency in 5 essential disciplines, conditions for success in which may be
summarized as follows:
|Can we take the time -- in physically non-dangerous circimstances -- to 'listen' for either our own or
another's needs? And can we then find the words to express what will move us toward what we know
will arrest alarm and raise hope in some practical approach or action to meet them? In uncertain,
difficult, or challenging circumstances, we feel anxious about expressing, or listening for, unmet
needs. Doubtful that the option of silence will 'do', we rush to interpret what we hear as requiring
either a vehement defence of ourselves, or withdrawing, or offering hasty, and therefore unempathic,
even presumptive, suggestions.
Is there a practical way we can all learn to navigate such moments? Communication isn't announcing
or broadcasting but requires two people at least; and what takes place in between is often a mystery
about which we can either assume we know or else work to discover in a dialogue, where all parties
do their best to present their authentic selves empathically to the others. If we can find a simple way
we can all understand and easily remember for doing this, then by practising it we would be able to
increase the chances of reaching agreements when we need more than one party to solve a problem, i.e.
converse fruitfully in the discovery of needs with which the parties can help each other and/or others.
Authentix Coaches have found that utterance of an "I have 'X emotion' now" (IHXEN, pronounced
'Eye-Zen') statement, where 'X emotion' is an honest selection of simply a noun or a noun phrase, is a
reliable way, in challenging moments, for anyone to navigate such moments safely. The act of
articulating an honest IHXEN engages such capacities as we already have developed in easier
circumstances for the purposes of sustaining connection and surfacing/sharing ideas/experience. For
more about IHXENs, how they avoid conflict, how they facilitate more satisfying and/or productive
conversation, and how they produce outstanding returns on the investment required to become
proficient in their use, click on this link, or on one or another of the navigation buttons below.
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Mr. Isaacs' book quotes Peter Garrett who, after working with quantum physicist and introducer of the
term 'implicate order' David Bohm and also with Don Factor, has practised the idea of 'true dialogue'
in maximum-security prisons where he found offenders will attend dialogue sessions while boycotting
everything else: “The impulse behind intentions is pure, even though the intention may be distorted and the
impact not what was intended. Inquiring deeply enough to reach the original impulse will always reveal
‘wholesomeness’. This provides the confidence to enter the loudest confrontation and the darkest territory without
fear that it will get forever worse.”
|Thorough dialogue between participants in any situation in which they have interest
in both learning and practising its disciplines will lead to satisfying agreements.
That's the implication of what Peter Garrett is telling us. The impulses giving rise to
intents are life expressions, no matter what moods of destructive cynicism or
repelling anxiety may be contaminating their manifestation or interpretation. The
task of an "Authentix Dialoguer" is therefore to practise skills that facilitate
expression and evocation of empathic authenticity and the best available degree of
reciprocity. Consider the following success rate comparisons:
|Sources: Data – Conference Board of Canada as quoted in Globe & Mail of 070505 and Canadian Business & the
Law, by DuPlessis et al. published 2005 by Nelson div. of Thomson Publishing; Analysis - Authentix Coaches
|the author, Angus Cunningham
(in Kolapore Wilderness, Ontario)
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