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Daniel Stillman: How To Think Alone And Then Think Together For Powerful Productive Conversations


In this episode, I chat with Daniel Stillman, conversation designer and host of the Conversation Factory Podcast. Listen in as we discuss what it means to design a conversation and what we can all do to design better ones.

Topics include:

  • How Daniel’s education in industrial design and innovation led him to notice that all of the problems he was trying to solve came down to only one thing
  • The “linchpin” Daniel discovered in getting teams aligned with his vision for a project (and how executing on that started his business)
  • The invisible roadblocks in team decisions and how smart facilitation is able to break them down
  • Why it’s important to have an outside voice
  • Why influence should not be the deciding factor in many discussions (and what should be used instead)
  • Daniel’s “Conversation Operating System” and what he feels is at the core of this work
  • A simple shift you can make in a group discussion that will make it so no one in the room is influenced by other people’s ideas
  • New ways of helping people introduce each other and share their ideas through shifts in the environment
  • What design actually is (and what constitutes good design in a world where the word is thrown around)
  • Why most people design their “asks” inappropriately
  • Daniel’s concepts for writing in a broadcast email format
  • What to do when the conversation just doesn’t work
  • And much more!

Daniel Stillman is a leading independent design facilitator who helps organizations unlock new ways of thinking and better ways of doing. He crafts powerful workshops and transformational learning experiences to help teams work better, together. He hosts The Conversation Factory Podcast, discussing the edges and corners of conversation design.

Mentioned in this episode:


Learn more about Daniel Stillman:

Learn more about Michael Roderick: