Tips for Effective Dialogue: Dialogue vs. Discussion
Dialogue 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.
If dialogue is so effective, why aren’t more people using it?
The profound efficacy of dialogue requires much of us:
What Does Dialogue Look Like?
Recognize it when:
Dialogue — A Jazz Improvisation Metaphor
A jazz improvisation is a good metaphor for dialogue. Each musician must build on what the others are already doing. The jazz musician can’t just begin playing his favorite riff. He must listen to what others are playing, and then build on it. The result is something unique — no one person controls the musical direction. They improvise and initiate, but always in relationship to what others are doing.
Discussion vs. Dialogue
Dialogue Contrasted With Discussion
Discussion has the same roots as "concussion" and "percussion.” The Latin origin of discuss is “discutere” - to dash or shake apart. Hence, to discuss is to shake apart what others say.
In a discussion we break things down, fragment the whole, analyze the pieces, and seek to convince others of our insights. You recognize discussion by its competitive nature. If you are only listening in order to prepare your own counter-arguments, you are involved in a discussion.
Defaulting to Discussion
Often the default in business conversations, is discussion. Each side will lob its viewpoint across the table. The other will then repeat its counter-position. You have a sense of positions being smacked back and forth like a puck in a hockey game.
If your trust of the others involved diminishes along with your patience and good will, you are likely in discussion.