The Three Pains

Creative conversation is a distillation into seven essential elements of what we all do when we’re communicating at our best. It’s absolutely free, totally doable, extraordinarily effective and easily learned – by anyone, by you – so that individually and together we can transform the three pains that plague us all.

Personal Pain

First, there’s the personal pain of being unable to talk meaningfully with someone who’s significant to you – a family member, a partner, a colleague, a friend. Who hasn’t replayed a painful conversation in their head and agonised about how it went so badly off-track, or what they might have said to bring about a better outcome? Who hasn’t felt the frustration of being unable to break through a seemingly impenetrable barrier with a particular person to reach (again) a point of mutual understanding and connection? And how many relationships – families – have broken down because that barrier couldn’t be breached? 

But the personal pain of miscommunication doesn’t come just from relationships that break down; increasingly it’s the result of feeling unable to connect with anyone at all. Some commentators are even saying that the ‘developed’ world is experiencing a growing ‘loneliness epidemic’ that could be as damaging to individuals and society as obesity or smoking. 

Group Pain

Then there's the group pain of belonging to (or being responsible for) a team or organisation that’s suffering from poor interpersonal communication. For some reason – or several – the members of the group don’t seem able to talk to each other in a way that generates a healthy, productive atmosphere.

Individuals tend to think they have a limited ability to affect group behaviour, especially if the group is large and/or they don’t have senior status – but that’s not necessarily the case. A talking revolutionary, by practising creative conversation, will always be able to maximise what’s called their influence in a group, whatever their status, while two or more talking revolutionaries can positively turbo-charge it.

Societal Pain

In some ways, the third of the three pains is the greatest challenge of all. This is societal pain, experienced by those living in conflicted and polarising societies. The pain has always been present to different degrees in different societies, but today it has a powerful accelerant – the internet. The result is that a number of societies which until recently appeared stable, seem to be steadily splintering into cultural and political ‘tribes’ who find it increasingly difficult to break out of their own echo-chambers, let alone build bridges to other camps. 

This is the current story of the USA. And Brexit Britain. And Scottish/Catalan/Basque independence. And rising populist/nationalist movements throughout Europe. And, in differing hues, the story of apparently irreconcilable political and cultural differences around the world. It’s the story of a ‘cold war’ polarisation that could last for years, decades even; or that could, with the right combination of causes and conditions, turn ‘hot’ and lead to the violence that so often characterises deeply divided societies.

Personal pain, group pain and societal pain - a talking revolution aimed at transforming any of them will reap enormous benefits. But that’s not going to come about through any directive from on high. It’s entirely down to the sense of personal responsibility, openness and creativity in each individual, one individual - you.

So might you become one of the talking revolutionaries who will make it happen?