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022 – Conversations matter! How to design group conversations – with Daniel Stillman


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In this episode, I talk to Daniel Stillman, a conversation designer and host of the podcast “The Conversation Factory”. We talk about the difference and similarities between facilitation, conversation design and coaching. And, we talk a lot about power dynamics and how you deal with them and take them into account when designing group conversations that shall solve a problem. In the show, Daniel and I discuss a lot about the circumstances that determine our choices of exercises – depending on the purpose of a workshop, group dynamics, and stakeholder groups.  

Don’t miss our arguments related to the “Fishbowl Conversation” that led us to explore how to evaluate which exercises were appropriate in specific situations. 

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Questions and Answers


[1:43] What’s your story? How did you turn from a BA in Physics into a conversation designer?

[5:48] How did the experience of power dynamics impact you and your style of working in designing conversations?

[10:43] Is there actually a line between being a conversation designer, a facilitator, moderator and a coach?

[25:24] So what's according to you the most effective way to make a decision with a large group?

[27:54] To what extent do you believe does the facilitator has a responsibility to protect the group from their decisions being highjacked by the p[roblem-owner?

[29:43] What is the key skill according to you, since you are also teaching facilitating managers, what is the key skill that they should learn first?

[30:46] Can you learn that? Can you teach that?

[33:24] According to you, what makes a workshop fail?

[37:48] So how much time do you usually spend on understanding the participants before him?

[40:53] I would be curious to hear how you define the experience in the context of a conversation.

[43:21] What’s your favourite exercise?

[46:49] If someone fell asleep after a minute, just woke up and doesn't have time to listen to the entire show again. What do you want them to remember?


Related links you may want to check out



Other shows we mentioned: 


Rein Sevenstern on How to create experiences for your audience


Connect to Daniel


on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter @dastillman

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