Socratic Dialogues: Conversations that matter

Many conversations we have are just casual. A chat at the coffee machine, a gossip about the mistakes of a colleague, an exchange about a customer project with your manager… But some conversations require a bit more attention and depth: difficult dilemma’s, strategic choices that have to be made, or conversations to clarity why we’re doing certain things.

In this episode I speak with Erik Boers. Erik is a philosopher who helps companies and organizations to have deeper conversations about topics that matter. He owns his own company Het Nieuwe Trivium to facilitate deeper dialogues in organizations, and he educates other professionals in this ‘art’. Erik is a colleague of mine, with whom I work already for many years. His interventions in teams, boardrooms and the public space are very powerful, and in this episode we will learn more about his field of work.

We will speak about why we find it so difficult to have a good conversation, and why good conversations are an art that requires purposeful attention. Erik will share how he ensures teams are prepared to go in-depth and spend time on so-called Socratic dialogues, while many business professionals will initially be skeptical about anything that costs valuable time. Also, Erik will reflect on dialogues in the public space, to which he switched his attention recently.

Els de Maeijer, researcher Communication and Innovation at Fontys University of Applied Science in The Netherlands, reflects on the interview with Erik Boers, and gives some further thoughts about the “old school” model of communication (sender-receiver) versus the current view of conversations: meaning only is created in interaction. Like every week, the podcast ends with some practical tips to enhance the Clarity of your Conversations, in the office and at home.

For more information about Erik Boers, check his company website.

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