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Basic Dialogue Workshop. Introduction.

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Introduction

This workshop is designed to strengthen your skills and understanding relative to conducting dialogue. Since we all come to this workshop with varying levels of knowledge and skills, your full participation is necessary for shared learning to take place. As individuals and as a group, we will benefit from developing the skills associated with leading dialogue and, in particular, dialogue about topics associated with our diversity. Diversity dialogue provides us with an opportunity to increase our understanding of ourselves and our community/organization. Furthermore, dialogue in general enables us to better identify and confront many issues and concerns before they become problems and makes it easier for us to solve or fix real problems.

Basic Dialogue Workshop


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Learning Objectives

  • To gain a better understanding of diversity dialogue.

  • To develop the necessary skills for leading or participating in effective Diversity Dialogue Sessions.

  • To understand the responsibilities and requirements in creating successful dialogue.

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Why Lead or Participatein Diversity Dialogue?

  • To cultivate an organization that fosters cultural diversity, and strategic and tactical planning.

  • To engender a climate that encourages all members to grow and cooperatively use their talents and skills.

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Through Dialogue expect that

You will:

  • Learn about differences through group process.

  • Engage in open and frank dialogue about assumptions, and individual perceptions of differences.

  • Promote effective teamwork.

  • Improve communications.

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Dialogue Objectives

1. To understand and value different perspectives.

2. To correct stereotypes and erroneous assumptions.

3. To develop trust and find value in diversity.

4. To enhance communication skills.

5. To remove artificial barriers.

6. To have a positive impact on the organization.

7. To provide for individual and organizational growth.

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Your Commitment

  • To be open to learning.

  • To be willing to listen and be non-judgmental.

  • To focus on team development.

  • To search for new and improved ways of working together.

Basic Dialogue Workshop


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Dialogue

Discussion

Decision

Feedback

Action

Dialogue - The First Step

In Problem Solving

Basic Dialogue Workshop


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Linguistic Origins

Discussion

Latin:

discutere = “to smash to pieces”

Dialogue

Greek:

dia = “through”

logos = “the word or meaning”

“a free flow of meaning between people”

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What is the Difference?

  • Discussion

  • To tell, sell, persuade

  • To gain agreement on one meaning

  • To evaluate and select the best

  • To justify/defend assumptions

  • “I wonder which of these is the right one?”

  • Dialogue

  • To inquire to learn

  • To unfold shared meaning

  • To integrate multiple perspectives

  • To uncover and examine assumptions

  • “I wonder how these pieces combine to create a whole?”

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Dialogue - What is it?

  • A free-flow of meaning through a group, allowing the group to discover insights not attainable individually.

  • An opportunity for a group to access a larger “pool of common meaning”.

  • Exploration of complex issues from many points of view.

  • An exploration between individuals that brings to the surface the full depth of people’s experience and thought.

  • A process in which all individuals believe they have had an opportunity to be heard and that they have had a fair hearing.

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Dialogue - Setting the Stage

  • 1. All participants regard one another as colleagues

    • A mutual quest for deeper insight and clarity.

    • Observe the thoughts that govern how we see the world to enhance our understanding of ourselves.

    • Slow down and hear not only the words but also the meanings behind them.

  • 2. All participants “suspend” their assumptions

    • Hold assumptions “in front of you” – so that they are accessible to questioning and observation.

    • Do not disregard, suppress, or avoid these assumptions.

  • 3. A facilitator “holds the context”

    • To assist participants in maintaining ownership of the process and the outcomes and keeping the dialogue moving.

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Dialogue - Key to Building Trust

Effective teams are strengthened by dialogue

Dialogue

Trust is generated through open and honest communication

Effective leaders “create a climate for dialogue...Through words and actions the leader conveys the message that it is perfectly acceptable to speak up, to be open, and to express both thoughts and feelings.”

Effective leadership

and teamwork

Trust

from: The Model Leader

William D. Hitt

Effective leadership is based upon a foundation of trust between leader and team members

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Dialogue is Not New...It Draws on the Work of Three Key 20th Century Thinkers

  • Martin Buber (Philosopher) used the term “dialogue” in 1914 to describe a mode of exchange among human beings in which there is a true turning to one another, and a full appreciation of another not as an object in a social function, but as a genuine being.

  • Patrick De Mare (Psychologist) suggested in the 1980’s that large group “socio-therapy” meetings could enable people to engage in understanding and altering the cultural meanings present within society.

  • David Bohm (Physicist) conceived that “dialogue” would kindle a new mode of paying attention, to perceive - as they arose in conversation - the assumptions taken for granted, the polarization of opinions, the rules for acceptable and unacceptable conversation, and the methods for managing differences.

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A productive session requires each person’s best. Use these tips for supporting dialogue in a group:

  • Clarifying: Establish objectives for the session.

  • Attending: Use nonverbal behavior to communicate non-evaluative listening.

  • Acknowledging: Give verbal and nonverbal indications of being involved in the conversation.

  • Probing: Ask questions and directing.

  • Reflecting: State in one's own words what the other person has said or is feeling.

  • Indicating respect: Use behaviors that do not ridicule, generalize, or judge.

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  • Creating Immediacy these tips for supporting dialogue in a group:: Draw attention to what is happening in the conversation.

  • Summarizing: Pause in the conversation to summarize key points.

  • Concreteness: Be specific and objective in communicating information and expectations.

  • Resourcing: Give information, advice, instruction, and referring.

  • Confirming: Close the loop - ensure that information has been received and learning has occurred.

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  • Reviewing these tips for supporting dialogue in a group:: Go over key points of session to ensure common understanding.

  • Planning: Build strategies and agree on next steps.

  • Affirming: Comment on the others strengths and value.

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The Four Layers of Diversity these tips for supporting dialogue in a group:

External

Dimensions

Functional

Level/Classification

Management

Status

Geographic

Location

Internal

Dimensions

Work

Content/

Field

Personal

Habits

Marital

Status

Physical

Ability

Rec.

Habits

Race

Gender

Income

Personality

Age

Religion

Parental

Status

Ethnicity

Sexual

Orientation

Seniority

Appearance

Work

Experience

Work

Location

Educational

Background

Division

Dept/

Unit/Group

Union

Affiliation

Organizational

Dimensions

Basic Dialogue Workshop

Adapted from Marilyn Loden and Judy Rosener, Workforce America! (Business One Irwin, 1991)


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