July 31, 2011

There’s a BIG difference between conversation and asking clarifying questions.

Conversation is a core business practice. Conversation is a process – stimulated by strategic and cage-rattling questions – that demands listening and questioning assumptions and learning. And that conversational process produces quality decision-making and change.

Listening to a report and then asking questions about the report… that is NOT conversation. Conversation is open-ended. You don’t know where it’s going. You may be surprised. You don’t have all the answers.

You actually must intentionally design a conversation. Design the presentation of the information in a way that engages interest and stimulates strategic and cage-rattling questions. Propose questions to stimulate conversation. Facilitate the conversation well, ensuring many voices and diverse opinions and still more questions.

Filed under: Nonprofit Management

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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