Monday, April 04, 2011

D is for Deliberate Dialogue

Note: I'm throwing my hat into the A-Z Blogging challenge sponsored by Tossing it out! What you will be reading via the letters A-Z is a little bio about me. This will give you a glimpse into my work world and what I do when I'm not here - blogging.

Thanks for joining me on “D"- day for a little deliberate dialogue.

“So, what is deliberate dialogue?” I hear you asking as you stare at my blog and are probably thinking it might be time to exit stage left before you get in too deep.
Hold on not so fast, I have something to tell you...that’s it...get comfortable.
Have you ever been out for a coffee or a meal - alone - and were forced to entertain yourself by listening in on the conversations around you?
Well, I think most of us have - I know for certain I have and here’s what I have discovered - most of us are really bad at deliberate dialogue. 
Deliberate and dialogue are both very interesting words in their own right, but put them together and they are a force to be reckoned with. 
To be deliberate is to be conscious and intentional in what we do, or in this case, say.
And dialogue is a conversation between two or more people. 
Have you ever heard a little child say something like, “Mommy! That lady is really fat.” in a voice loud enough that people in a one block radius stop and stare. 
How rude - right?
The child’s mother turns crimson and looks as if she’s going to die of embarrassment - she grabs her child and leaves the crime scene as quickly as humanly possible, without looking like she’s abusing her child as its arm is being wrenched out of its socket. 
Most of us feel her shame and yet inwardly we are chuckling because we see the innocence of the child in its statement - said without malice or intent to offend. It was really a bit of deliberate dialogue - an observation stated in a very direct manner.
Deliberate dialogue gets drilled out of us early. It’s considered rude and more to the point it is not socially acceptable.
So...what is a reasonably intelligent adult to do if they wish to engage in deliberate dialogue with another equally (we can always hope) intelligent adult?
How about simply thinking before speaking. Possibly slowing down the train wreck in ones head and breathing while thinking of exactly what it is we want to say and why.
Now...since I want this is to be somewhat work related I will share with you how I implemented deliberate dialogue in my work sphere, years ago.
I did a manicure on a woman from France one day and while she certainly could speak English, and we had, I thought, a good conversation about life, love and the universe, I realized later, when having a discussion with the hair stylist that had sent her to me, she was unhappy with my work!
Shock and Awe! 
Unhappy - not possible! I’m the best! And that’s a fact! (no modesty - it’s just the truth and one should always tell the truth when in deliberate dialogue with anyone)
What had I done wrong? 
Well, apparently in France, back in the 80’s, it was the style to have the moons (that little funny white half-moon shaped bit at the base of your nail plate) left unpolished - go figure. 
I thought I had asked all the right questions, but apparently I forgot to ask whether she wanted her moons painted. We were in Canada - I didn’t think about how things were done in her country - never crossed my mind! 
Here comes the profound lesson out of this experience that has stayed with me for over twenty-five years:
Do not presume anything.
From that day forward this is what I have said to every new client:
“I am not a mind reader. Alas, it is the one great talent I do not possess - everything else is a piece of cake! If you want something - talk to me - chances are I can accommodate.”
But rather than relying solely on my client (or any other person) to be obliged to do the deliberate dialogue dance alone while I just standing there making assumptions - I strap on my dancing shoes and I dance carefully and unhurried so every step is understood and every turn anticipated. 
For you, the on-looker - sitting alone - having your coffee or meal, you will be spellbound by the fluidity of this deliberate dialogue going on at the table next to you.
And as you listen you hear words strung together in deliberate dialogue, consciously and with intention, always careful and unhurried so as to be clear and forthcoming in their meaning and purpose. They are music to your ears.
Until E...


  1. bravo well said and my child has been that kid who innocently voiced his opinion still does

  2. Great Post!!!

    My kids have said stuff like that back when they were very young.

  3. Well said. I too have children who spoke deliberate dialogue!

  4. When I perceive that people are listening in on my conversation, I give a signal to my companion (who knows how I can be). We then turn the conversation to something like, "And nobody will ever guess where we hid the body," or "OK, it's set, we break into the bank at midnight," or "Uh, I don't know, maybe a sex change WILL make me feel good about myself."
    And if I'm by myself? I start having a conversation where I answer myself. In a different accent.
    Strangely, most people move away.

  5. Really enjoyed that post. As you can see, I've found your Blog! YAY! Hope you don't mind me following you from over here in England. What a stunning photo you have as the header to your Blog. I look forward to getting to know you!

  6. Becca
    Thanks - yes, out of the mouths of babes...

    How goes? - Yeah, my daughter had me in stitches sometimes!

    I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy painting schedule to drop by and take a read! (can't wait until June...)

    Well what would I do without you - you are the entertainment factor in my comments and for me that is "da bomb"!

    I've done exactly the same thing and people's reactions are just hilarious!

  7. Thisisme - Welcome aboard - the more the merrier!

    I love the English - they add a rarified air to any conversation - which I love!

    Besides I'm a JM Barrie fan - I love many works by many amazing authors and I do enjoy reading on a wide variety of subjects.

    That said - of all the books I have ever read, for reading sake and fun - Peter Pan is my all time favourite.

    It's the kid in me and it will not be suppressed - no matter what anyone says!

    Thanks for adding yourself as a Follower!

  8. excellent post Jenny!

    i wish i had a delete key like my keyboard!~

  9. Bruce - Hi! Thanks for popping by.

    Yah, wouldn't it be nice to be able to delete something as it was spewing forth, before it ever got out and and caused all kinds of havoc and grief!

    I've been enjoying your postings - I see you are giving each of your blogs a little personal lovin' - happy to see it!

  10. This was wonderful, Jenny! I had to chuckle (and cringe) remembering some of the deliberate dialogue I've been involved in over the years...

  11. Pam - it's always a special treat having you stop by - thank you.

    I laugh at how you mention "cringe" because I've cringed over a few seriously bad dialogues that by no means had any connection to the word deliberate.

  12. Jenny, I really enjoyed reading this post! Well articulated and absolutey true. Thank you for your insight.

  13. whoops! Spelling mishap! "Absolutely." Sorry, still learning with the iPhone.


Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

I'd give you a penny for them, but alas we just snuffed it out. Yup...gone!
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Cheers, Jenny

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