When I think of magic, the first images that come to my mind are magicians with playing cards, hats, rabbits and sawing pretty girls in half. When I think a little longer images of more subtle and/or amazing feats of, well, magic come to mind.

Magic is a skill that can be mastered. It`s also something that can be explained. Yet, for me, magic - whether sleight of hand or elaborate process - has an aura about it; it`s something that has real power.

When I think of dialogue, I think of the same things.

Dialogue is real (not a sleight of hand type thing) and extraordinarily powerful. And even though relatively few are masterful at dialogue, it`s a skill - like magic - that can be learned.

I realize the magic metaphor isn`t perfect, there are no "tricks" to dialogue, but the potential power is real, and when it`s achieved in any group, magic definitely occurs.

As a leader your role requires that you become a skilled communicator. When most people think about communication skills they typically include presenting in meetings or groups, providing feedback, discussing topics of importance, listening intently and even emailing skills.

Yet this short list of important communication skills leaves out an important one - dialogue.

Dialogue comes from the Greek "dia", meaning through, and "logos", meaning words or meaning. Dialogue, then could be translated as a flow of meaning. William Issacs, in his excellent book Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together , takes this one step further:

"In the most ancient meaning of the word, logos meant `to gather together,` and suggested an intimate awareness of the relationships among things in the natural world. In that sense, logos might best be rendered in English as ‘relationship.`"

Dialogue then is more than just "really good conversation" or even what happens when I "really focus on listening." Rather, dialogue is a meeting of minds in the spirit of relationship and the creation of synergy. It`s the open exchange of ideas in the context of relationship.

When you begin to think about dialogue in this way, you get a glimpse of the power that can be gained. While there are tools you can use to create this situation, like the magician`s secrets, you must start from this understanding that dialogue is the opportunity to think together.

To help create this magic, think of the times when "thinking together" would be exceptionally important for anyone, but especially leaders:

When developing trust
When creating understanding related to a change
When exploring problems and solutions
When coming to complex decisions
And that`s a very short list.

In the context of thinking about a communication that truly allows for "thinking together" (rather than trying to sell, advocate for or influence to a particular point of view or solution) you hopefully can see that the opportunities for dialogue are many.

That also means challenges and obstacles exist as well.

It would take another complete article to even begin to describe those barriers and how to overcome them to create dialogue more reliably. For this article, suffice it to say that as a leader you must be willing to go first.

Hopefully the glimpse of the magic encourages you to get on a learning journey to make that "first step" choice.

Potential Pointer: Communication is one of the most important priorities for leaders. If you want to build your communication skills, recognize the value of and learn how to create dialogue.

Author's Bio: 

Dialogue is just one of the important skills Remarkable Leaders work to develop. You can kick start your progress as a leader and become the leader you were born to be with a free 2-month trial in Kevin Eikenberry’s Remarkable Leadership Kick Start System at http://www.RemarkableKickStart.com. Kevin is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://www.KevinEikenberry.com), a learning consulting company that helps organizations, teams and individuals unleash their leadership potential.