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Enlarging the conversation is a term that applies to a concept meaning, essentially, understanding and listening and speaking or responding from a perspective that is larger than your own. It is surprisingly difficult to realize that other people literally understand things in a way that is different from your understanding of the same things and that this difference in understanding has the potential to completely block any possibility of mutual comprehension, clarity, agreement or accord.
Therefore the conversation must be enlarged to encompass the other's vision and understanding. The formula for enlarging the conversation, according to Liberty University, includes needs recognition and intention comprehension:
- Identified Needs + Intentional Resourcing = Enlarging the Conversation.
Fulfilling this formula involves asking understanding questions that are broadening and also examining equally broadening responses and external resources (e.g. books, articles): the aim is broaden your perceptions to include other perceptions than your own. Knowing the behavioral blend of both or all participants in a conversation (i.e., yourself and the others in conversation with you) facilitates knowing what kinds of perception broadening questions to ask and what kind of broadening resources to examine in order to reach mutually shared vision, comprehension, agreement or accord.
"Behavioral blend" is a term associated with DISC personality assessment based on divisions of normal behavior related to life pace (speed or slowness of life task orientation) and personality style. The variations of individual characteristics in these categories can have a high or a low orientation, meaning they can be dominating factors or secondary factors in your overall personality and in the blend of all parts of your personality.
The blended function of these various characteristics, with their varying qualities of high to low impact, is what DISC calls behavioral personality, or style, blend. Behavioral personality blend is significant to enlarging the conversation because of the potential for discord between personalities (personality conflict) as individuals attempt to understand the differing worldviews of those in conversation.
Liberty University Enlarging the Conversation PowerPoint
Enlarging the conversation refers to embracing a broader perspective than one's own through such activities as interaction, observation, contemplation, communication, discussion, debate, research of relevant resources and other processes that foster learning and progress for the individual and his or her groups in the realms of knowledge.
Understanding one's behavioral blend involves attaining a degree of self-awareness in which one appreciates the various aspects of one's personality--the diverse styles of one's behavior that define one at a season or time of life. These two concepts--enlarging the conversation and behavioral blend--are highly interconnected.
Self-awareness about the balance of styles that manifest in one's personality and behavior is very important in progressing in one's relationship with knowledge, which is critical to navigating through the multiplicity of elements that characterize life and the exceptional dynamism that describes modern times.
Consciousness of one's responsiveness to new information, to new ways of looking at things and to changes in one's gestalt may be deeply influenced by one's dominant personality traits as well as by more latent ones. For example, a person who is aware of being very confident yet very humble may have the grace to use his or her humility to listen to facts and opinions that contradict his or her worldview and to contemplate the value of these insights as a means of feeding his or her confidence and leadership capacities or as a means of enlarging the conversation revolving around the other facts and opinions presented.
Ideally, such awareness can allow one to take full advantage of the various aspects of one's personality to the extent that these traits resonate with received opportunities to benefit from new insights. At the same time, one can use one's behavioral blend to filter new information to enlarge the conversation in those directions that complement one's interests and feed one's passions as well as to complement the others' interests and passions, without which the conversation is not enlarged but rather manipulated. For example, a person who is both extraverted and diplomatic can use his or her outgoing nature to engage others to provide useful information that constitutes new knowledge while using that precious diplomacy to minimize negative elements like gossip and slander and screen out excessive information that threatens to diverge from the conversational topics of concern.
In terms of actually defining the concept of enlarging the conversation, this too may be dependent on one's awareness of one's personality traits. A dominant personality may need to be careful not to perceive achieving groupthink and getting everyone on board with his or her ideas as the definition of a true gestalt shift. Likewise, a more submissive personality may be tempted to define enlarging the conversation as conceding to the others' opinion just because it is the others' opinion. One must be reflexive as one processes new information and works to develop a mindfulness of how one's dominant and latent personality traits affect what one perceives as the zeitgeist. Reflexivity--awareness of the introduction of personal biases due in part to one's personality traits--must be developed to promote objectivity and validity as one draws new conclusions within the enlarged conversation.
Overall, developing an awareness of the interaction, or blend, of one's styles of behavior can allow one to capitalize on these personality style traits as instruments for attracting, screening, filtering, assimilating and refining new knowledge as a means of growing in wisdom within various subjects to facilitate enlarging the conversation. Understanding one's behavioral blend can be a powerful vehicle for gaining deeper and more sophisticated perspectives within various subject areas, disciplines and conversations.
Every person has a host of different personality traits that influence they way they communicate. Societal norms determine polite versus rude. Cultural background may make one person more sensitive to specific word use than someone else. Behavioral blend is how these influences and personality traits interact to create responses. People tend to see the world through the filter of their own life experiences and personalities. Understanding your own behavioral blend is often the first step in setting it aside for better communication.
Enlarging the conversation, or engaging in meaningful communication, is difficult when people from different backgrounds, social positions, education, cultures, etc., join together in discussion. Good communicators work to set aside what they think they hear, ask questions to clarify understanding, and work toward common goals. By understanding your behavioral blend, you can start to catch your own preconceptions and move conversation past personality pitfalls.
'Enlarging the conversation' is a phrase used to suggest looking beyond the immediate, first responses because they are usually conversation limiters. Thinking past initial responses gets easier once you have an understanding of your 'behavioral blend,' which is a way of saying that knowing yourself will help you see that your reaction to what others say is the reaction of your personality traits. True communication is actually fairly difficult because what we hear someone say, is often not what they are actually saying because our brains are very good at filtering concepts and perceptions through our culture and personalities. The goal is to really listen and ask questions to ensure understanding, without making assumptions. It is a worthwhile exercise to just observe a group conversation; it is easier to spot all the communication misses when you are not participating.
Simply, when you allow yourself to acknowledge someone else's point of view by thinking of yourself in their position you encourage that individual to share his or her ideas, causing the conversation to widen. This sometimes results in the conversation becoming more intellectually engaging and reflective of different backgrounds, traditions and cultural views of participating individuals. But for this to happen one must be aware of their own behavioral blend of personalities so as to welcome or even try to understand the behavioral blend of another person.
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