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CUDN Guidelines/Agreements

 The following guidelines may help facilitate a spirit of dialogue:

Listening

  • Listen from a place of learning rather than for confirmation of current thinking
  • Listen for each person’s special contribution to deepen understanding.
  • Listen for common threads from the collective, from the whole, as well as for differences. 
  • Listen to yourself, each other, and the group as a whole.
  • Listen to the quality of your own listening.
  • Listen with resilience, “hanging in” when what is said is hard to hear.

 Speaking

  • Speak when you are moved from your life experience.
  • When possible, use “I” statements instead of “we”, “you” or “they” and refrain from stating your views as global or absolute truths.
  • Reflect before speaking; then share even half-formed, unfinished ideas or thoughts.  They may be the seeds of new insights and intelligence for the group. 
  • Share air time. Invite others into the conversation out of curiosity and interest, and allow for silence when appropriate.
  • Tell your story without blaming, shaming, or attacking.
  • Acknowledge your new insights gained from the group.

 
Discovering

  • Ask questions from a place of genuine curiosity, wondering, or not knowing, rather than to make a point.
  • Be willing to be uncomfortable, confused, uncertain.
  • Suspend or postpone conclusions; open yourself to discovery.
  • Pay attention to your judgments, assumptions, and certainties.  Hold them lightly, explore and examine them, and consider alternatives that may be just as useful.
  • Be present to what’s happening inside you as well as in the group.
  • Look for deeper levels of understanding.  What is the “meaning” of something to the other person.
  • When there is a disagreement, keep talking.  Use disagreement as an opportunity to explore different perspectives.
  • Allow yourself to be influenced.
  • Be open to exploring multiple possible outcomes, and unattached to preconceived results.
  • Respect confidentiality.  If you talk about your dialogue experience to people outside of the group, refrain from using people’s names or sharing their personal experiences. 

 



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