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The Centre for

Creative Conversation

If I want to stop smoking, at least I know I smoke!

Updated: Jul 2

A woman's hand ticks a box saying she'll quit smoking

But if I’ve got a bad communication habit, chances are I'll be blind to it. I'm so used to it, it’s just part of who I am.

Multiply that by millions and you realise there's a huge blindspot at the heart of UK society.

It's that we lack personal communication skills – the ability to engage consistently and productively with each other, one-to-one, about things that really matter to us. Especially when we disagree.

This skills gap plays a major role in so many problems – broken families, under-achieving organisations, alienated communities and dysfunctional government, locally and nationally. We’re so used to it, however – it’s all around us, every day – that we just shrug it off.

‘That’s life,’ we say. How individuals connect with each other – or fail to – is simply an aspect of their personalities. That’s the blindspot.

Breaking the silos

Because it’s a proven fact that, through adjusting the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how we talk and listen to each other every day, our relationships can be changed for the better. What’s more, the skills to do this can be taught and learnt. They exist.

They’re just locked away in the specialist silos of therapy and counselling, negotiation, facilitation and conflict management. Fortunately, the world of education is waking up to this.

Voice21 logo

The movement to put ‘oracy’ – the ability to communicate effectively using spoken language – on a par with literacy and numeracy in schools is growing fast.

The observed benefits are increased pupil confidence, greater engagement in the classroom and – crucially – higher academic achievement. Currently, more than 900 schools are part of the rapidly expanding oracy network in the UK.

Oracy for adults

Which offers great hope for the future but doesn’t address the damage and cost to UK society now. In effect, we need 'oracy for adults'. Not as a nice-to-have but a must-have. Which is precisely our mission.

We want to improve the quality of human connection by developing core personal communication skills in adults throughout the UK. And for this we’ve devised and are delivering a practical skill set called creative conversation.

Anyone, in any setting, can put any of these skills to work immediately and experience the benefits.

That’s because creative conversation identifies and strengthens the elements of communication we all use when we’re at our best, which makes it highly effective in transforming relationships.

'Creative' refers to the generation of value through meeting basic human needs. 'Conversation' derives from the Latin word conversari (‘to keep company with’) and refers to human connection through communication.

Creating value

Together, the term points to what’s unique about this form of communication – it consciously seeks to improve human connection through creating value in every conversation.

Based on the feedback we're getting, we’re convinced that creative conversation can have an enormous impact beyond the workplace – in families, communities, the workplace, politics…

In short, in any area where people have to understand and be understood by others to solve problems, resolve differences and find a way forward together.

So, creative conversation – oracy for adults. Who’s in?


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