In a conversation with a colleague interested in the institutions of liberal democracy, I urged her to consider scribling a top ten tips for engaging in civil society. It led me to meditations of my own on the topic of relationship management and working across cultural and social differences. Here’s my take on the basics.
Listen: stay tuned to repetitions and mantras. Detect patterns.
Ask questions: elicit narratives: where have you been? where are you going? (of course, actual questions have to be more specific and tailored to the circumstances [remember the point about listening]).
Adopt and adapt vocabulary. Take on the words that resonate with your interlocutors. Be prepared to explain how your organisation works and what it aims to achieve. Either way, check the translations you make in either adopting the other’s vocabulary or adapting your own (remember to validate with questions).
Be open for future contact — relationship building is not instantaneous, be prepared to invest.
Seems so simple and recursive now that its laid out here. Seems a wise course for communications internal to an organisation too.
And so for day 1919