More on Genuine Dialogue

There is a vast difference between what most of us consider dialogue and what I call “Genuine Dialogue.” Conversation between most people is loose and without fixed and agreed-upon rules, so it can often end up feeling that there was little benefit to the time spent talking and listening to each other.
Let me compare Genuine Dialogue to the rules essential to sports games. What would baseball, football, basketball, etc., be if the rules were loose or non-existent? The game would not exist. I compare this to the differences between just having a conversation and experiencing Genuine Dialogue.


Although repetitious, knowing and agreeing to the rules essential to make Genuine Dialogue work are few: The participants must be PRESENT with each other. They must RESPECT each other and LISTEN TO WHAT IS BEING SAID—instead of building an argument against what they THINK THEY’VE HEARD. Finally, to ensure that the speaker knows they have been HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD, the listener needs to REPEAT IN ONE’S OWN WORDS what the speaker has said. (“So what you are saying is————“).


When this takes place, the listener is now CANDID in their response. What makes this work is the acceptance of the listener and the speaker that AGREEMENT is not asked for. If the speaker or listener expects agreement to result from Genuine Dialogue, they need to lay their expectations on the table from the beginning.


Compare this to most of our conversations with others. We enter them fully expecting agreement or that our position is the correct one. It was my first discovery when I began to work with leaders throughout the country. I was initially employed to speak to the issues of staff and leader relationships. As stated by the leader requesting my services, the problem was the staff and their relationships with each other. Instead, what became most apparent was that the problem was the communication style of the leader. This invisible exercise of power was not invisible to their staff and me.


Based on much research into power, leadership, and communication, I stumbled into what I labeled Genuine Dialogue and began to build a whole case for better communication skills. It was new and enlightening to all of us, and in the process, those of us lucky enough to work together—grew together. Sy

Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

One thought on “More on Genuine Dialogue”

  1. Sy – Amazing how true those words are and yet I find myself needing reminders regarding that subject!
    Cheers ljd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.