A Socratic dialogue enables you :

 

– to discover the convictions you actually hold about your experience, such as : “the grass has to be cut”
– to discover the arguments you have for these convictions, such as : “because it has been a week ago”
– to examine the value of these arguments. For example : “it is a bad argument : it is not because it has been a week ago that the grass should be cut”

Where and when?

 

Course program

A Socratic dialogue can be run in pairs, in a team or in a group. It is ideal for teams and groups who want to examine the value of influential conceptions of themselves and / or their organization in order to change or adapt them. It involves conceptions such as
– “These are our core values”
– “We have to reach our targets by the end of this  month”
– “Our organization is customer friendly”

This examination is executed in a structured and careful way. The conversation itself allows a team to work on conversational abilities such as :

    • formulating clearly what one thinks
    • taking a standpoint
    • effective listening
    • summarizing
    • suspending judgments if necessary
    • asking the right questions

A Socratic conversation is an excellent way to help to change (conversational) unwanted habits in an organisation. A very effective tool to obtain this, is the ‘elenchus’- experience. This confrontation of words and deeds goes back to the Old Greeks. You can read more about it here.

Some examples of questions that I have dealt with in organisations :

  • When do I stop helping the client? (dialogue with caregivers)
  • Do we work with love? (dialogue with staff of a Psychiatric clinic)
  • When is a decision well-considered? (dialogue with judges)
  • What’s the use of revenge? (dialogue with prisoners)
  • Which values do we have in common? (dialogue in a big enterprise)

Results

For yourself as participant :

After an initial Socratic Dialogue :

      • You listen better to yourself and to others
      • You can formulate confused feelings or thoughts of yourself or someone else in a clear, simple and precise way
      • You discover aspects of your conversational habits : (im)patience, (un)critical listening, monological tendencies, impulsivity,…
      • You learn to recognize alternative interpretations of the concepts you currently use
      • You gain insight into your own state of your mind
      • You learn to assess and evaluate your own thoughts and feelings
      • You appreciate doubt and ambivalence as a powerful source of new insights
      • You question the obviousness of judgments
      • You reinforce your sense of discernment: you learn to distinguish between feelings and judgments about those feelings, between “facts” and interpretations of facts etc.
      • You can adequately summarize a train of thoughts and seek consensus
      • You are allergic to uncareful ‘diagnostical’ thinking
      • You’re prone to think in questions instead of thinking in responses
      • You practise working together and thinking together
      • You practise strategic thinking and you can see the consequences of your choices

After several Socratic Dialogues :

      • Your perception of a problem is more sensitive to details
      • You can formulate your statements in a correct way
      • You are able to accurately connect concrete observations to abstract concepts and vice versa
      • You master the art of suspending your judgments if necessary
      • You develop an inquisitive attitude towards statements of your colleagues and your clients
      • You can lead and participate in a dialogue
      • You think carefully and accurately in your everyday functioning
      • You trust in your own speech instead of relying on authorities

For your organization

        • The quality of the peer review improves
        • Your meetings are better and more efficient
        • the contact with colleagues or clients is deepened with a ‘Socratic’ way of thinking and acting
        • As a Socratic leader, you are the “midwife” of the mind of your employees : instead of thinking yourself, you make them think as much as possible and you increase their accountability.
        • You listen better and you formulate what you want to say more to the point.
        • You take nonsense away to make way for clear thoughts and decisions
        • You do not lead by more nonsense.
What do participants say?
  • “The way the dialogue was conducted motivates me to engage more into Socratic dialogue”
  • “I have discovered a completely new way of talking and listening”
  • “Very good value for the money”
  • “I’ve learned to revisit my opinions”
  • “The training course helped me to develop my listening and discernment”
  • “A good program to get an open mind“
Take a look at a fragment of a training course with Kristof :
Kicki Epstein from Stockholm
Socratic dialogue one-on-one Berlin summer 2013
Phone: +32 473 71 58 35
Kokerijstraat 90
B 9310 Meldert