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Dialogue (Greek: dia-logos, to see through to meaning) refers to a facilitated, structured circle conversation about a meaningful topic, question, or shared experience. The dialogue process requires mutually agreed upon guidelines for speaking that are based on mutual respect, deep listening, open-mindedness, suspending judgment, sincerity, and confidentiality. The process is based on acknowledging the equal value of all participants, providing a safe environment in which to question one’s own assumptions as well as those of other participants, supporting exploration of new insights, allowing for uninterrupted speaking, and engaging in periods of reflective silence.
There are numerous models for conducting dialogue. The following principles guide the dialogue process in many of these dialogue models.
As their title indicates, dialogue facilitators function as facilitators, rather than experts or authorities, in the dialogue process.