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The Conversational Futurist

A conversational futurist is someone who refuses to stall the dialogue or even re-circle the same subjects simply by using different words. They shift gears out of neutral and increase their speed. They do not use speed to accelerate the pace of their words, rather to accelerate the depth and breadth those words bring.

Conversational futurists see the power of evolution as it relates to dialogue and lead their conversations toward new dimensions of life and growth. When this happens, a new future is experienced through the portal of conversation, and the past is left where it should be—behind.
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House
is one of my favorite TV shows, and even though Dr. House is so mean, us fans can’t help but love him. What makes him stand above the rest in his medical profession comes down to one thing—he doesn’t merely diagnose, he prognosticates. In other words, he sees where a disease is going and gets ahead of it.

House isn’t satisfied with facing off with an illness as it presents itself, as many of his colleagues are. Rather, he wants to outsmart it, outrun it, beat it. This drive ultimately leads him to saving patients’ lives. It’s almost as if he enters a time machine and goes into the future to see the trajectory of the disease before anyone else sees it.

When it comes to relating to one another through conversation, is it possible to do the same? Can we step into a time machine and peek into the future awaiting us, helping to pull others to that future through the vehicle of our words?

The answer is a resounding yes. Conversational futurists like Dr. House don’t merely diagnose (understand the fundamentals of dialogue), they prognosticate (see where the conversation is heading). They know how to get ahead of where a dialogue is going and outrun it. Conversational futurists realize that every conversation is alive with potential, and has the capacity to move forward and create impact. They’re driven to evolve a dialogue with intention and progress, and are able to use their words as a medium. As a result, they bring vibrancy and momentum to people. They are the Dr. Houses of conversations.

Evolve The Conversation

A conversational futurist is someone who refuses to stall the dialogue or even re-circle the same subjects simply by using different words. They shift gears out of neutral and increase their speed. They do not use speed to accelerate the pace of their words, rather to accelerate the depth and breadth those words bring.

Conversational futurists see the power of evolution as it relates to dialogue and lead their conversations toward new dimensions of life and growth. When this happens, a new future is experienced through the portal of conversation, and the past is left where it should be—behind.

Every leader can help make this reality of evolving their dialogues happen in their relational spheres. But too often they find themselves being what I call conversational backtrackers rather than conversational futurists. Instead of being a futurist who helps bring forward movement, conversational backtrackers fall behind and find themselves always trying to catch up.

The obvious dilemma with falling behind is that it results in being unable to lead. The dialogue ends up leading us rather than us leading it. If we’re always following behind, we won’t create impact through the words we say and the direction we could potentially steer our conversations. By getting ahead, we make room for true impact.

Outrun The Present

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As leaders, many of us face obstacles in our effort to become conversational futurists and effect change in our relationships. We struggle to drive the dialogue in the way that brings life and evolution. It’s not that we lack intellect or something substantial to contribute. Rather, most of us simply haven’t practiced increasing our speed of thought, as well as our speed of articulating those thoughts in a way that catalyzes conversational momentum.

For those of us who struggle with conversational speed, we may wonder if it’s even possible to become a conversational futurist. It is certainly possible to learn to consistently get ahead of our dialogues and evolve them with intentionality. The primary solution comes down to practice, which means there’s room to strengthen the conversational futurist within you.

We must practice thinking before we speak, speaking with clarity and direction, and listening with internal alertness and full engagement. If we implement these key actions, we will become like Dr. House who gets ahead instead of falling behind, who leads rather than follows and who ultimately creates impact rather than leaving interactions unchanged.

When we focus on seeing past the present and into the potential evolution of dialogue, we face the great possibility of outrunning the lifeless strand of words that are fighting to set the tone of countless conversations. By pulling dialogues forward with intention, we can cultivate healthier relationships and bring people in our spheres of influence to life through conversation—our most elemental way of relating to one another. Along the way, we’ll find ourselves engaging a new way of being smart and increasing our relational intelligence.

*Excerpted from Relational Intelligence. Copyright © 2009 by Steve Saccone. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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