“What did you say
I know I saw you saying it
My ears won’t stop ringing
Long enough to hear
Those sweet words
What did you say”
Nose jammed deep into a bowl of salty sweet udon, and listening to Norah Jones on my iPhone, I’ve been reflecting on the nature of conversations. What makes talk into a conversation? Does a conversation continue after the talking? If so, what do you call the piece that continues? If the conversation requires preparation, organization, or facilitation beforehand to make it valuable, is that also part of the conversation?
With my friends Bill Ryan and Andy Abramson we’ve been tossing around a concept which we’ve collectively dubbed Active Conversations which describe these ideas. The key idea is simply this: a conversation is more than just talking. It’s an iterative process of organization, preparation, facilitation, agreement, conclusions, actions, and follow up. Lather, rinse, repeat.
It’s easy to see how this applies in a business context. So often a business conversation finishes with not just a conclusion, but a series of action items leading to the organization of another meeting or conference call. It’s incredibly rare to see a business conversation not result in follow on actions. After all, that’s the engine that runs business.
But what about in the context of a podcast? This week I’ve had the opportunity to chat with both Steve Gillmor and Sean Ammirati about their podcasts. Both are users of Calliflower, and I was interested in previewing some features we’re working on with them, as well as hearing feedback on how to improve Calliflower. Needless to say, the idea of Active Conversations was at the forefront of my thinking as we were talking. Podcasts, especially the way that Steve and Sean run Gillmor Gang / Newsgang and ReadWriteTalk respectively, are very much Active Conversations. With a guest, multiple participants, chat walls, a follow up posting, comments, and a follow-on conversation these are quite definitely Active Conversations.
What other kinds of conversations are Active Conversations? Stay tuned… I’ll have more thoughts on this in the coming days.