Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change

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Saturday, 5 May 2007

Communication residue

Positive Change - the Spiranthis spiralis III
I have learned a message will come across when people pay Attention to it; when it contains Information that is relevant for them; when it generates a Desire in them: and when it makes clear which Action they can take. You can check the AIDA principle by asking people after your communication what the main message was – the communication residue. Ideally this should be a reformulation of your communication objectives.

It is lunch time during the Spiranthis spiralis round table meeting. A large number of people - more than during the lectures of this morning - merrily gather at the tables filled with plates and bottles. Eat, drink and toast. On the friendship between the city people and the villagers. The mayor receives the first Spiranthis spiralis T-shirt, specially made for this campaign. The two boys and one girl get a T-shirt and a puzzle with a photo of the orchid. The teacher is provided with more copies of the puzzle for the rest of the school.

I use the time to talk to the school kids and find out what they have learned. My colleague Ema translates. I ask them what they would tell their parents about this meeting. One boy answers that one should be careful with nature and not step on the flowers. The other answers that one should prevent pollution. The girl interferes and says “no, it was about the orchid, and you should no let cows graze there as they are too heavy. Sheep are much better”.

"And what can you contribute to save these orchids," I ask. “They did not tell us”, answers the girl “they only gave information on the flower and they talked about the farmers. But there are no private farmers here, only the co-operatives. My mother has one cow, so does my grandfather. But we are only part time farmers, my father works in the city.”

I ask the mayor what the most important thing was he had heard this morning. First he is polite and wants to toast on Europe and the guest from The Netherlands. But then he says: "the professor and the scientists want us go back to traditional farming, but there is nobody anymore to farm". Other villagers have similar messages: "City people do not understand what it is to live here. They come and tell us in difficult language what to do and then go back to their comfortable houses." I encourage them to tell about life in the valley and the history of this place. The conversation becomes very animated.

I wonder how satisfied the members of the Orchid Club are with the communication residue. And how they see positive change taking off. As for me I learned so much during this visit, I will continue the story about the Spiranthis spiralis in another posting - using my notes from six years ago.

2 comments:

Lizzie said...

Ths idea of residue reminded me of the 'stickiness factor' Malcolm Gladwell writes about in his book -'The Tipping Point.' I don't have time to elaborate right now so will come back to this later and just provide a link for more info : http://www.gladwell.com/tippingpoint/index.html

Frits Hesselink said...

Thanks Lizzie, this is a nice addition. I look forward to your reflections on how little things can make a big difference. I just read Blink - the power of thinking without thinking.