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creative individuals thrive on and is a part of what makes the freelance experience
sustainable.
The Conversational Trinity: “Listening, Hearing, and Speaking”
The client wants to hire an individual who can communicate their culture or idea and this
requires an in-depth understanding of what the client is seeking and sometimes it is not
clear. The client begins to tell their story and then it is freelancer’s turn to respond and get
clarification. At times, the freelancer almost takes on the role of a therapist who asks the
client pointed questions about what they hope to achieve and what they would like to see
happen with the project in question. Whether it is a video, documentary, audio recording,
article, website, or radio show -- this shared performance requires soulful, skillful “listening,
hearing and speaking” for all parties to examine what is possible (Anderson, 2007, p.35).
Listening is a participatory activity that requires “asking questions to learn more about what
is said and not what you think should be said” (Anderson, 2007, p. 36).
The ability to hear the other demands deep listening and this requires not mentally
reloading to come up with a clever response but to really attend to the story and let it
steep. As therapist, coach and consultant Harlene Anderson suggests, the storytelling
process requires the listener to be “actively involved, hearing and speaking as well”
(Anderson, 2007, p. 37). As related to therapy, the freelancer must relay what they heard
the client say to make sure their interpretation is clear. This is a relational process of
interpreting the conversation of the other. The freelance perspective of the outsider looking
in is what allows an enterprise or company to see themselves in a new or an appreciative
light; when this happens, there is a shared performance, where the freelancer and client
have the potential to create something new together.
The Discovery is Part of The Negotiation
The initial conversation, even if the freelancer and client have worked together on previous
projects, is the part of the discovery phase where they must explore the contours of the
project before time and money can be discussed. The best freelancers intuitively adopt
many of the positive principles of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), “based in asking possibility-
oriented questions that focus on what is working and what is possible to inspire
collaborative and wise action” (Holman, 2010, p. 202). The AI process intensely focuses on
the role of relationship in creating new realities and there is an awareness that also
encompasses of the power of language to “create our sense of reality our sense of the
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