Our Conversations: Position, Interest And Need

July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Some more learning to share after my conversation with Charlotte Millar from WWF.

Conversations can happen at different levels. To help identify the depth of interaction, we can use the PIN model.


This level of conversation occurs when both sides are not curious, not seeking to learn from the other. There is battle-

This level of conversation often comes from a place of needing to be heard. Climate activists who desperately shout about the end of the world and impose their views on an audience without any interest in others’ stories are a good example.

A House of Commons debate, or a talking heads panel on nuclear power are other good examples of this kind of conversation.


Here conversations explore why viewpoints are what they are. What underlies the position taken? There is a spirit of enquiry and openness to surprise.

Interests are sometimes thought of as vested interests, as after further enquiry we understand the greater forces at work.

Good journalism is an example of conversations led by interest.


This is the most intimate form of conversation. Here we see values revealed, an honest assessment of our own assumptions and prejudices and ask the question, ‘Why do I think that?’.

Reflection, or allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with one another are examples of needs-led conversation.

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