What causes interpersonal communication, group processes and community programs to unfold in the ways they do? What are the underlying dynamics that make for success or failure, or for good process and bad? Usually these are associated with Core Dialogue Practices designed to handle them. But teasing them out from the processes we know, and from our experience in groups, organizations and communities, can help us understand - and share our understanding - of what's going on at a deeper level.
- FEELING HEARD: When a speaker feels' well and fully heard. they tend to set aside their barriers, defensiveness, undue aggressiveness, ideological fixations, etc., and can more readily join in the flow of inquiry and co-creativity. To the extent they aren't well and fully heard, they will tend to assert, attack, withdraw, repeat the same thing over and over, etc. Interestingly, "feeling heard," "being heard," and Active Listening are not as synonymous as we may like. We can hear someone but they still don't ''feel heard. The phenomenon being described here is 'feeling heard.' Active Listening is probably our most powerful tool for helping people feel heard, but to be fully successful requires an attitude and presence that gives the speaker a real sense of being unconditionally joined in their personal world, at least during that piece of the conversation. Mirroring, curiosity ("tell me if I have this right...") and writing down what the speaker says in public view are all tools for Active Listening.
- Our best intentions don't always work on this, however. Failure to feel heard is so rampant in our society that most people enter a conversation with such a deep need to be heard that most groups cannot afford the time needed to fully hear them, even when they have skilled active listeners. However, when this factor can be handled well - such as in Dynamic Facilitation, Talking Circle, and Nonviolent Communication - the openness, depth, fluidity and surprising productiveness of the conversation can be quite impressive.
- FOCUS: Even when the process doesn't manage focus (ex: Dynamic Facilitation) it still emerges and is essential. It's a function of feeling heard, shared goals, mood, surroundings, and sufficient information, as well as appropriate process. It's the core of task function. You touch a point which is essential for our work. We are Visual Facilitators - see our homepage www.visuelle-protokolle.de . We draw what people say, and as well what we feel during the meeting, on little cards, each image combined with a short sentence, as an anchor in the reality. So people see what they have said, and can interact with these little images in different ways. A mayor advantage is, that people, especially those, who are not used to talk, see themsemves understood and felt. Sometimes people stand up and clapp their hands because they liked this way of visual communication a lot.
We see great possibilities to develop visual facilitation as a tool to reach people, come across their resistance, and contribute to a whole way of work and life.