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:

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  • 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.
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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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