Communication can occur in many ways. Some communication is visual, like a wink or a smile. Some is tactile, like a soft touch or a swift kick. And sometimes humans communicate through language.
The expression of language is generally accomplished using three means: 1) written; 2) signed (e.g. American Sign Language); and 3) spoken. And within those means of expression are approaches to communication frequently used in the context of interpersonal relationships.
For most of us who have grown up influenced by Western social philosophy, we were taught from an early age, informally by family and friends and formally in school, to use communication designed to persuade others to accept or adopt a particular point of view. You may recognize this approach to communication as discussion and debate in which we attempt to make the case for our position while attacking or diminishing the validity of the position of the other. As you have probably experienced, the emphasis of “persuading” communication is on expressing our position or point of view.
Those who lived in societies not influenced by Western social philosophy, like Native Americans and other indigenous peoples, often utilized a different approach to communication. The approach they used is designed to facilitate understanding. Conversation and dialogue possess many of the properties of “understanding” communication. The emphasis of “understanding” communication is on listening to the perspective of others.
Dynamic Agreement™ is a relationally focused approach to reaching and maintaining agreement that uses a particular type of “understanding” communication called Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™. Dynamic Agreement Dialogue™ uses age-old techniques to facilitate the opportunity for persons exploring agreement to momentarily suspend their reality, listen actively and empathetically, and share personal experiences in a non-judgmental fashion in an effort to understand the perspective of the other so together they can make decisions that address the needs of all affected persons.
Effective communication doesn’t just happen. It makes a difference which approach is used. A common need for people is to be listened to and heard. The Dynamic Agreement™ approach to reaching and maintaining agreement affords persons exploring agreement the opportunity to be heard and to express themselves in a way that facilitates understanding.