Johnnie Moore

The conversation is the work

It's easy to think of conversation as "just talk" but it's actually where real work happens
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Action is not something that is separate from, or better than, conversation...

Transcript of this video:

I was on a Zoom call the other day and to be honest, for whatever reason, my attention had been drifting until someone in that Zoom meeting said the phrase “The conversation is the work.” And in that moment, I suddenly felt my attention return and I got excited because I liked hearing that phrase.

And I felt like it was a challenge to me not to let my attention drift but to bring my experience into the conversation, what I was thinking and what I was feeling.

And I thought I’d make a video about this phrase, “the conversation is the work,” even though part of me is thinking, you might think, that’s a rather boring or meaningless statement. What does that mean? What does that add to the sum of human wisdom?

Well, maybe to illustrate it, I could share my experience of facilitating meetings. And I’ve often been to meetings that are actually quite powerful where I feel like interesting ideas are being exchanged and conflicts are being addressed and good work is being done.

And then often towards the end of such a meeting, somebody will say, “Yes, well all this talk is all very well but if we don’t have action, well the meeting is pointless.” I’ve often thought, but never actually said to that person:

Well, I notice that your contribution is not being done in mime or in sign language. You too are just talking, if you like.

And I wanna challenge the notion that talk and action can easily be separated. And I think the challenge of the conversation is the work is that it’s an invitation to bring our experience right now into the meeting.

Which might include saying that perhaps we’ve not been interested or that our mind has wandered but to bring our full experience to bear on the conversation that we’re in now, because the conversation we’re in now is probably connected to whatever change it is that we’re wanting.

Or to use a phrase that my business partner Viv sometimes uses. We don’t want to be in a meeting about a meeting in which we are hypothesizing about a change that might happen at some future event.

We’re alive to the possibilities of change that are in the conversation that we’re in right now.

Photo by Harli Marten on Unsplash

Share Post

More Posts

More Updates

Emotional debt

Releasing the hidden costs of pent up frustrations


Finding the aliveness below the surface of stuck

Johnnie Moore

European Improv Conference

The first European Conference of the Applied Improv Network is set for 10-11 March in Amsterdam using mostly Open Space. Should be good!

Johnnie Moore


Since installing Twitteroo I’ve started to enjoy Twitter a lot more. I only spend a few moments updating Twitter or reading it but I like the sense of connection it

Johnnie Moore

Showing up to relationships

What creates engaging relationships? I’d say that the number one “technology” available to all of us is showing up to relationships. (Woody Allen famously said “90% of life is just showing up”). Here are some observations about what I mean by showing up… and what I don’t.

Johnnie Moore

Closing the field on innovation

Here’s another report on the recent research on the limits of brainstorming (previously blogged here): How Group Dynamics May Be Killing Innovation. The underlying research suggests conventional brainstorms are less