We use the Conversation Meter as a model to assess the quality of current conversations and to teach how to move from reactive conflict toward generative collaboration.

The Conversation Meter

Reactive Listening:

Reactive Survival Listening » Past-Based Conversations which inhibit partnerships

Evasive Conversations happen when you are intentionally evasive in order to avoid a perceived problem or threat and to protect yourself from an emotional reaction. You purposefully disguise the truth, withhold information or withdraw emotionally or physically from a conversation.
Conclusive Conversations Conclusive Conversations happen when you share your views and perceptions as if they are “The Truth.” Conclusiveness can be either internal (unspoken thoughts) or external (spoken words). Your focus is controlling people to achieve your agenda. You listen for agreement or disagreement, not for new information or perspectives. You dump your opinions, label ideas or people, convince others to agree, and manipulate or dominate conversations.

Generative Listening:

Curious, Compassionate and Appreciative Listening » Future-Oriented Conversations which build partnerships and create new possibilities

Transition Conversations Transition Conversations happen when you when you take responsibility for moving from Reactive Listening into Generative Listening. Generate a place of equality (ending superior/inferior evaluation) and then speak to create an environment of safety for authentic dialogue.
Expansive Conversations Expansive Conversations are about expanding possibilities through new understanding. You separate facts from perceptions and curiously inquire for more information, creating a wider view by adding another person’s view and additional information. You discover shared intentions as common ground.
Connective Conversations Connective Conversations are about connecting to higher intentions and connecting to each other as fellow human beings. We these connections, you act in concert to build new futures that individuals alone could not achieve. In generative collaboration, you explore coordinated action, make authentic commitments and when needed, implement corrective adjustments.


Adapted with permission from Center for Authentic Leadership, www.AuthenticLeadership.com.