talking of flanering


‘Our salon [of scientists and theatre artists] succeeds because we never have an agenda.  At the beginning of each session, one of us will begin talking about some random idea, another person will chime in or change the subject, and miraculously, after twenty minutes, we have zeroed in on a question everyone is passionate about.’*

For two days, I have wandered around Washington D.C., noticing some things and missing others – such as when, yesterday, I twice offered to take a picture of groups so everyone could be in their photo.  The first person said no, the second said yes, and this morning I read this from Edgar Schein:

‘Effective help occurs when both giver and receiver are ready.’**

Spot on.

We don’t have to wander a city almost 4,000 miles from our home, though, we don’t even have to wander our home town (though it’s a good thing if we do); we can engage in flanerie in our conversation with others.  Open to the twists and turns of everyone’s contribution, we can come upon something which intrigues and fascinates us together.  We begin by factually sharing and listening, then we notice we’re empathically listening, getting excited about something, and the conversation takes off excitingly for everyone.  We may even move on to generative flanering, when an idea emerges that the group will put into practice.

‘Ideas are going to continue to be more valuable.’^

These are the ideas that possibly will change the world.

Flannelling is the use of evasive language.

Flanering is the use of engaging language.

(*From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(**From Edgar Schein’s Helping.)
(^From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)

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