We often presume, when talking of vision, that it is cast in a speech or with some kind of audience listening. However, for many years I have claimed that vision is best cast in conversation. Here’s why:

  • People can tune out a speech–but it is hard to fully tune out a conversation partner.
  • Conversation allows for interruption and the answering of questions… becoming full interactive.
  • A conversation values the input of the conversation partner, they feel like they are contributing to the vision.
  • Ownership is optional in a crowd. In a conversation, an implicit ownership of what’s stated is expected if no push-back is offered.
  • A vision speech is a moment in time–but a conversation can be ongoing and open ended.
  • Conversation uses more appropriate terminology and language for the hearer–coming to them at their level.
  • A speech might be generally assented to; but in a conversation the hearer can go deeper into the purpose of the vision.
  • In a conversation someone can find their own place in the vision, instead of just seeing it as “the leader’s vision.”
  • Conversation offers the opportunity to restate the vision in one’s own words–even if somewhat inaccurate that rewording is invaluable.
  • A conversation allows the vision-caster to find out how the vision is sticking–which is hard to read from the stage.
  • Conversations allow storys to be told with more customization toward the hearers own passions.
  • And finally, a vision casting conversation is the best way to collect stories that correspond to the vision, as the hearer can talk back and offer ways they see the vision happening already.

For all these reasons and more, I think vision speeches are over-rated, and that vision is best cast in conversation.

What’s your take?

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