Episode 29
Brand Story Podcast

Dialogue and Deliberation

featuring Lori Britt

Professor of Communication and Co-Director of ICAD at James Madison University

Lori Britt, Professor of Communication and Co-Director of ICAD at James Madison University, discusses the importance of intentional conversations with our president and host, Steve Gilman.

There’s a difference between communicating with someone and having an intentional conversation. Understanding the way you talk and how that impacts the way you think is important in helping to break down barriers and engage in civic conversations with others. It’s the heart of what Lori teaches and models for others — figuring out the why.

It’s become even more important now to be able to engage with others of differing opinions without breaking down. Dialogue and deliberation are processes that can help us all understand our own way of thinking and identify the constraints we may not know exist. As Lori would say, it’s simple but complex work.

In this episode, Lori challenges us to identify our personal schema and how our thinking has been conditioned. She identifies common challenges that are apparent in conversations and walks us through ways to expand our way of thinking. Whether you’re speaking to an individual or working as a group, her insights will prove valuable in helping shape your next conversation.

About the Guest

Lori Britt

Professor of Communication and Co-Director of ICAD at James Madison University

As a long-time communication instructor, Lori has taught various courses on group and organizational communication with a focus on community dialogue and deliberation. She is the Board Chair for the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation and the Co-Director of JMU’s Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue (ICAD), both focused on bringing people together for intentional and constructive conversations.

Quickfire Q&A

What piece of advice have you been given that just stuck with you in your career?

I think a piece of advice or basically a guiding principle is that we’re not just teaching people how to communicate better, we’re modeling for them what’s possible when you shape the space….constantly build capacity. I’m not trying to be the expert at bringing people together to talk. I want everybody to know how to do that and how to do it better.

If you weren't a communication professor, what would you be doing?

I’ve always thought I would love to own a little gourmet food store and flower store combination. I just find those things bring me joy, food and flowers, and I love sharing things like that with people.

If you could give your younger self any advice, what would it be?

I would say be comfortable in your own skin early on. I don’t think I got comfortable in my own skin until I was in my thirties and I think that was a lot of this kind of built up about societal expectations of how society expects, particularly women, to think and speak and act. [Also] embrace every turn out there because you don’t know what it’s going to add.

About The Host

Steve Gilman

As the President of Gravity Group, Steve is passionate about helping brands reach their goals through honest, creative marketing and powerful brand stories.