Living and leading woman with mic

Meet the Literacies for Living and Leading in our Times – PS96

Appreciative Voice and Choice: New Literacies for Living and Leading

In this episode, your co-hosts, Robyn Stratton-Berkessel and Sallie Lee set the scene for what's to come in future shows.  We talk about the origins of Appreciative Voice and how the seven literacies evolved. The intention of these literacies is to enable us to bring all voices into conversations.  There are many choices to be made.

The literacies include inviting all perspectives, harnessing our collective capacities and valuing the relational world we are responsible for co-creating. They include our need for belonging and connection and more.  You will make your own connections with the content as we dive into the specific literacies over the following weeks. 

These literacies, which go beyond skills and competencies, are based on the theory and practices of Appreciative Inquiry – the transformational change methodology that is changing the world through conversation and inquiry.

What is an Appreciative Voice?

We’ve become fascinated by the idea of Appreciative Voice — how the Principles of Appreciative Inquiry come alive in our daily conversations and challenges.

An appreciative voice isn't about being nice, but it is that voice that looks for and acknowledges strengths. It’s the voice that acknowledges diversity and invites us to stand up and speak to issues in a way that's still inclusive and can contribute to a sense of mutual belonging and shared concerns.

Life brings us situations and opportunities every day to navigate, manage, and weigh in on conversations that can be tough or tender, uniting or dissolving.  It requires constant improvisation every day, and our voices are the vehicle we drive. Our voice matters. 

New Habits of Voice

Imagine if we were always speaking into a microphone? What if our everyday voices carried over a great distance, heard by many?  What choices might we make about how we use our voice?  Perhaps we might be prompted to be more intentional;  we’d seek more training; we’d want to be more literate in what messages we are putting out into the world.  Today's technologies enable greater connections, and with social media, we can broadcast our voices as often as we choose reaching more people on a daily basis than ever before.

What new habits of voice are we hearing and what new habits of voice are we cultivating?

What tones are you becoming aware of?

Our ongoing inquiry offers us all the opportunity to explore and perhaps adopt new habits of voice.  These literacies we’re introducing aren’t quick tricks.  They’re deep skills developed and practiced over time.

We hope they’ll become easy and welcome building blocks of appreciative voice and appreciative agility in general. With practice, they can become second nature to those of you who find them intriguing.

Seven New Literacies to Develop Your Appreciative Voice

Living and Leading Graphic for Appreciative Voice


 I Inviting Inquiry

The power of the question and the curious voice. The best invitation we can make is to invite someone into inquiry.

 R Reframing Reality

The power of perspective, the focusing voice that examines and enlarges our frames to see situations and people from new vantage points.

K Kindling Kindness

The power of the pause, the compassionate voice that encourages our human capacity for good and empathy.

W Welcoming Wholeness

The power of welcome, the inclusive voice, which issues invitations to belonging and co-ownership. 

C2   Connecting the Collective

The Power of Dialogue, the engaging voice that allows us to think and decide together.

P2  Powering the Positive

The power of positivity, the affirming voice, that seeks solutions and opportunities

F Finding the Future

The power of a shared future, the visioning voice to positive paths opening before us.

The Appreciative Voice Literacies Guide

Seven Literacies to living and leading in these times

The 7 Literacies of Appreciative Voice

A summary and infographics of all the literacies, offering a definition, a description and daily practices to amplify your appreciative voice, plus the articles and podcast episodes to explain each.

Dailifying the Appreciative Inquiry Principles

These literacies for living and leading in these times is an effort to make the AI principles practical and to ‘dailify’ them, a term minted by Professor Lindsey Godwin, Academic Director of the Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain College, one day when we were discussing the literacies with her. When she said it, we immediately agreed, “That’s it.  That’s exactly right.”

We have infinite choices about how we use Voice in our worlds. So, what choices do we make day by day? How much better can we become at living and leading in front of the microphone of life

Life-saving Questions

Right now, and in whatever situation you find yourself,  you might consider giving the literacies a test run.  Try out these seven questions, each relating to one of the literacies.

What inquiry might you invite?

What reality might you help reframe?

How might you kindle kindness and compassion for this situation and those involved?

How might you welcome and extend wholeness?

How might you create connection?

How might you empower the positive?

What future might you co-find together?

Connect with Sallie and Robyn

Sallie on LinkedIn

Robyn on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google +Positivity Strategist 

Links to Resources Mentioned

Invitation to AI Jam in September in Burlington Vermont, US

Robyn’s reflections on the AI Celebration and Appreciative Voice

Interview with Sallie Lee post the AI Celebration on the topic of literacies for these times.

Interview with Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres, co-authors of Conversation Worth Having.

Interview with Jeanie Cockell and Joan McArthur-Blair, co-authors of Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry: A Leadership Journey through Hope, Despair, and Forgiveness.

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