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Dialogue is interactive communication that builds shared meaning. Compared with discussion – where people present ideas with the idea of putting forward the strongest or most persuasive view – dialogue fosters a collaborative exchange of ideas aimed at mutual understanding. Rather than a competitive collision of opposites that fosters disagreement, frustration and confusion, it is a collaborative exploration  that influences another’s opinion by first demonstrating deep understanding of their position.

The term ‘dialogue’ is widely used, often misused, and should not be confused with conversation or discussion. It is a subtle process that may be difficult to understand, and even more difficult to actually create.

Benefits of Dialogue:

Dialogue has the ability to convert detractors into supporters, conflict into consensus, and add depth to business relationships.

A dialogue influences another’s perspective by first demonstrating a deep understanding of the position you want to influence. People frequently resist attempts to be influenced by using the statement, “You just don’t understand.”

In a dialogue, your skills of collaborative inquiry and listening provide others with a profound sense of being heard. When we feel that we are heard, we become more willing to be open to another point of view.

 

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