“Information is NOT knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
We live in the age of information overload. Whether in airports, conference rooms, corner offices or dinner tables, more and more people are plugged into smart phones, tablets and keyboards. There is increasing desire to have immediate access to people and the latest information 24/7. Some use social media tweets, posts and texts as their primary form of communication.
Yet, after years of connecting with and getting information to people instantaneously, there is a yearning to get back to communication basics. During a recent dialogue among the founders of Twitter, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, with Charlie Rose, cohost of CBS This Morning, they discussed a new desire to build real connections among people, increase the quality of information and depth of understanding.
Employees at all levels are asking more questions and have a hunger for real dialogue…eye to eye. They want to understand the “whys” of what they have been asked to do and to believe. They have a growing need for meaningful exchanges and relevant conversations that go deeper than tweets, status updates and sound bites.
There is a connection between real dialogue and employee engagement. When employees connect, they come to the dialogue prepared, curious, open-minded and with ideas/questions of their own. Just like good books often begin with a good question, employees come to meetings with questions. Effective dialogues happen when people talk to give and get answers to what is most on their minds. We’ve learned three key facts:
1. Engaged employees listen.
2. Engaged employees want to be heard.
3. Engaged employees want to understand.
Ask yourself, as a leader, “What am I doing to build dialogue, conversation and engagement in my team?” Consider how to design your next meeting to encourage relevant conversation on your company’s most pressing challenges and issues. With an agenda, distribute target questions in advance so participants can think about the task ahead of time. Get back to communication basics…dialogue.
Face Uncertainty Through Dialogue, written by Kittie W. Watson, Ph.D., shows us how to use communication basics to keep employees engaged, especially in challenging times.