Renate van der Veen

A Dutch woman living in Germany and working in the Netherlands. After studying law, I worked for the city of Amsterdam for 18 years. Then I finally had the courage to start my own company. I work as a coach to highly gifted adults and train people, organisations, teams, companies in the use of Dialogue. Dialogue is: Jointly examining a question by listening attentively, sharing experiences, and reflecting on the insights. It is quite different from the way we are used to communicate with each other: convincing the other, getting your message across.

I love my work and feel that it contributes to better understanding, co-operation and living together.

In my work the practise of attentive listening is very important. And always when people listen on a next level (more empathic) and dare to suspend their judgements, they experience the richness of diversity in their teams or groups. They hear new perspectives, new solutions, new voices and feel more connected to each other afterwards. The more diverse a team is, the greater the gift of connecting and seeing the natural talents of the other. I really think this will help us to find solutions for the challenges we are facing these days (climate, gap between rich-poor, future of democracy). It might not be that complicated after all and that motivates me to introduce dialogue wherever I can!

The hard part though is that we need to dare to slow down in order to connect and listen and become aware of the possibilities of diversity. Voluntarily slowing down in an accelerating world is challenging!

The past years I have been organizing dialogue evenings with groups on all kinds of topics. What strikes me most is how easily people feel save if listening is more important than talking and if we take the time to really listen to what needs to be said. Personally, I feel that sharing my personal experiences without being interrupted also has some kind of healing quality.