In the last few weeks, I’ve encountered a fascinating range of modes of engagement with fellow professionals. I’ve been struck by the extent to which the mode of communication we employ affects the quality of discussion and the depth of understanding we achieve.
In a high quality exchange we learn what other people’s perspectives are but we also refine our own models and world views in the process; we identify common ground among the areas of disagreement and establish the territory of co-existence and consensus. We also allow for challenge and opposition whilst retaining a spirit of common intent and mutual respect.
In low quality exchanges, ideas are not given time to find their form before they’re fed into the threshing machine of public critique. Fuelled by adversarial rhetoric, subtle and complex ideas are battered into their most basic…
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