guidelines may help facilitate a spirit of dialogue:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.