Positive Dialogue Community

Positive Dialogue = Successful Dialogue

Where Parties agree that they understand one another as a result of the "flow of meaning".

"The important thing is that "ItWorks"

First, in considering Dialogue it would be well to make a distinction between the meanings of the words "Positive" and "Negative".

Positive Dialogue Negative Dialogue Flow of Meaning

Dialogue takes place when there is a flow of meaning. This flow takes place when both sides are invested in the process and have a sincere desire to come to an understanding of their own positions and the positions of the other party(ies) in the process. Each party must be able to understand that others do not see things in the same way, and must be able to listen with an aim or goal of understanding both the position and basis of the others' views. To communicate, we must measure and control our reaction to views and positions that we do not entertain and that we find incompatible with our overall views. We must seek to understand why someone can have such views, and seek a common ground and set of principles which will allow continual expression and meaning to flow from both sides. We must have a willingness to examine our own biases and reasons and be willing to change if confronted with compelling information and the background on which that information is built. The result of the process will be successful even if no changes on either side occur. This can be true because meaning has flowed between parties, and an understanding has been arrived at. Dialogue occurs when there is a flow of meaning. Dia-(through) Logos-(meaning): the parties must recognize and value the opinions of each other, and try to understand the position and circumstances that bring them to their position.

Motivation for Dialogue

Dialogue is a value-adding proposition. In it both parties hope to be better off when the dialogue is complete. This is particularly true if they share space and resources and wish to get along.

The main thing is to come to the point where all the parties involved are found to be "seeking mutual understanding". The method and approach used between individuals should be one in which each "puts aside" conceptions and seeks to arrive at a point where the "flow of meaning" occurs. In the process, Effective Dialogue must avoid the polarizing, unequivocal ranting and rebuttals offered by those having differing and uncompromising positions on issues that clearly can and do have differing viewpoints and acceptability due to differing Communities Of Practice or Cultural Assumptions.

Conflicting points of view and differences should not "stifle" communication

If and when the "conflict phase" results in the end of a "politeness phase", and as a result hostility and intolerance begin to be seen, one has moved from dialogue into something else. Conflicts can and should be present in dialogue, but should not be allowed to stifle communication and end the dialogue. Insincere Politeness is untruthful and will lead to misunderstanding and a feeling of being patronized or treated as unequal. True politeness recognizes differences with attempts to clarify and understand.

Avoid Polarization

When one takes a defensive position and feels it necessary to explain that they do not mean to lecture or be taken as offensive, the dialogue has become positional and polarized. It ends up as an argument like the schoolyard rant "You're not being fair" - "Yes I am" - "No you're not" - "I am too!" etc. No meaning flows, opposition and sides-taking occurs and dialogue stops, "Well I'm just gonna take my ball and bat, and go home!"


Polite Dialogue - Seeking understanding:

In the classical works of Martin Buber, "I and Thou" the suggestion is put forward that in authentic dialogue something far deeper than ordinary conversation goes on:

"The I-Thou interaction implies a genuine openness of each to the concerns of the other. In such dialogue 'I' do not, while talking with you, selectively tune out views with which I disagree, nor do I busy myself with marshaling arguments to rebut you while only half attending to what you have to say, nor do I seek to reinforce my own prejudices. Instead, I fully 'take in' your viewpoint, engaging with it in the deepest sense of the term. You do likewise. Each of us internalizes the views of the other to enhance our mutual understanding."

With regard to this, Social Scientist and Author Daniel Yankelovich in his Book "The Magic Of Dialogue" ISBN 0-684-85457-0 (1999):

"The understanding gap has grown sufficiently threatening that it deserves to be addressed seriously. I believe that a certain kind of dialogue holds the key to creating greater cohesiveness among groups of Americans increasingly separated by difference in values, interests, status, politics, professional backgrounds, ethnicity, language and convictions. Fortunately for our civilization, we are living in an era of enormous dynamism, creativity, and innovation. Perhaps more than ever before, Americans are willing to experiment and adapt to change. Once the understanding gap is understood better than it is today, the energy, creativity, and will needed to close it will pour forth in abundance. When that happens, as it must, the skill needed to master the art of dialogue will become critical."

The importance of Dialogue

Some issues are so important, that failure is a totally unacceptable option.

Most discussions in this community are about things, not people

It is an important thing to note that the subject of most pages on this Wiki, (except HomePages, CategoryPerson, CategoryAuthor and the like) is about things. It would seem to me that personal issues would be better presented in brief form on the HomePage, or if issues exist that are not of general interest to the multitude of people who frequent this wiki, that such issues be absented to Email or other non-wiki commmunications. Instead of agreeing that everyone views things differently and that often the rightness or wrongness of either side is only a matter of ItDepends, exchanges go on and on with no resolution, rather resulting in a multiplication of concerns and deepening of differences. Dead Horses are beaten over and over instead of buried. If one must take a stand or chose a side, let it be based on the subject and not on the people holding the different views. If progress is to be made, there must be agreement, even if it only to disagree. To become hostile and verbally corrosive is not a Wiki Virtue. It is a GoodThing to present things in an orderly, rational, sensible and polite manner. We should view this place as a place we can learn. Learn of the things about which it can be said ItWorks, It Doesnt Work, It has this wonderful nature or feature, It is dysfunctional and counterproductive, It is limited or wide in scope, It is a time-saver and It is easy and intuitive, or difficult and awkward. Let these things be noticed about the thing. A PositiveDialogueCommunity is one where people talk about the things that concern the matters under discussion and the approaches and understandings that result. When the majority of a community is engaged in this way, personal issues fall by the wayside by being marginalized. -- DonaldNoyes.20081109

There are other pages on Understanding, Success, Community, Dialogue, and Practices

Re: "The important thing is that "ItWorks"

Fans of CriticizeBluntly may disagree. We have to accept the fact that some people believe that rudeness and insults "hammers home the truth". I disagree, at least outside of the military, but we have to unfortunately share wiki with people who have this view.

Those who choose not to engage in PositiveDialogue are not interested in "the conclusion of mutual, successful understanding through the interchange of ideas, views and positions" and it goes without saying that they will not be its fans. They will employ other techniques that work in accomplishing their intentions. Those who "hammer home the truth" are engaged in monologue, and authoritative dictation.

CategoryDialogue CategorySuccess

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