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Dialogue Skills

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What is Dialogue? 
What are Dialogue Skills?

Why Do We need Dialogue ?

* We need to deal with a Crisis of Meaning in society (belief systems, norms, values)- leading to problems of discontent, alienation, violence, depression.
* Lack of consciousness towards relationships and others - confusion between ends and means.
* Because the Pace of our lives is speeding up  better communication is essential.
* Transition from society based on having more (productivity, bottom line, end result) to one based on being more.
Gandhi said "Earth has enough for our needs but not enough for our greed."
* Organisational life is becomung more complex and interdependent.
* Traditional hierarchical structures are inadequate (opinion of one or a few leaders insufficient for action)- more networking needed.
* Move from competitive environment to collaboration and partnership.(synergy).
* We need new tools to move from a more uniform to a more divergent society celebrating diversity and encouraging creativity.
* Piecemeal solutions to fixing part of the system are inadequate, we need to examine the system as a whole (assumptions and values) and the relationships between the parts.
* We need to understand how work gets done through shared meaning and relationships to develop new ways of thinking and operating."Everyone who works as part of an organization or team today needs to feel how what they do is making a difference to the whole."
* Dialogue improves the quality of relationships by building deeper levels of trust and understanding.(King Solomon asked for a listening heart).
* Dialogue creates a practice field for changing our behavior.

Dialogue skills and their application to everyday life

How can we develop true dialogue to improve our relations with everybody in our environment ?

.We  have found tools for developing effective dialogue skills, that we need so badly in everyday reality  and particularly in the Middle East, in the book "Dialogue: Rediscovering the Transforming Power of Conversation" by Glenna Gerard and Linda Ellinor. We can use these tools to enable dialogue between different cultures,different religions and different ethnic groups in our daily lives.     
What is Dialogue ? - there are many definitions. Our approach :
Dia is a way 
 
Logos means meaning.
Therefore we can say that dialogue is a way to create meaning.
There is a difference between a dialogue and a conversation: in a dialogue, the assumptions are explored whereas in a conversation the assumptions are justified or protected. While a dialogue takes into account the connection between parts, a conversation/debate sees the dispute between sides.
Important dialogue skills are:
1). Witholding judgement
2). Identifying and witholding assumptions.
There is a ‘ladder of conclusions', that we climb in our heads in a split second, without being aware of it. Starting from the data we collect, we go on to give meaning to the data we have chosen, we climb the ladder by making assumptions, from there we climb on to reach conclusions and finally we get to take action that sometimes we are sorry for and later regret. Our purpose is to be aware of each of these stages and learn how to control our thoughts and the processes we undergo. For this, we have to learn and practice all three kinds of listening:
1. Listening to the other;
2. Listening to ourselves
(what is going on in our head when we speak); including making assumptions and judgements
3. Searching for common meaning. Also, we have to learn the importance of silence so we can listen.
A successful dialogue involves inquiry. The power of inquiring lies in our intention to get to places we haven't been before and see things differently. Inquiry dives into relationships, connections and partnerships. In an inquiry, we ask questions that bring us to new places: How? When? Where? And What? These are questions that open up a field of dialogue, and encourage us to focus attention on relations and the dynamic mutual dependance between sides and between whole systems.


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