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Techniques > Conversation techniques > Elements of the Conversation > Building

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



Building a conversation is a deliberate effort to construct a whole rather than the discussion being a set of independent fragments.

Building yours

You can build on your own comments and arguments, developing a complete concept or persuasive structure. Adding elements as the other person understands and accepts each step can gain understanding and acceptance of even quite complex ideas.

Building theirs

It can be very powerful also to build on what others say. This is inclusive, helping to create effective bonds that lead others to greater acceptance of your arguments, especially if they believe they have had a hand in developing it.


As we both agree we should go out, let's go to the movies. Which would you prefer to see?

I like your idea of diffused lighting. How about using uplighters?

Wood is a good construction material. And oak indeed would be strong and very decorative. We could take it a step further and do a fully ecological house.


In many ways, building is one of the most powerful conversational methods, as it brings people together, makes best use of joint thinking and is most likely to result in an optimal solution with which everyone agrees. You know when building is working at its best when the other people are building on what you are saying and there is a common construction appearing between you.

Building can become problematic when people feel they should always build on the ideas of others at every opportunity. Sometimes it is better to build by yourself. Another (more common) problem is when a person gets stuck in their own ideas and makes no or little effort to build on the thinking of other people.

Encouraging building is a critical skill of facilitators who get people to think together for the best total effect. A way of doing this is to show how to do it, taking pieces of both sides and bringing them together to work as a whole.

Building is an important part of creativity as people bounce off the ideas of others, although it can be hard for people to get out of their own idea rut and look openly at what others are suggesting. If they can make this effort, the creative session can explode with new developments.

See also


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