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Ground Rules of Dialogue

  1. The purpose of dialogue is “to form a new basis from which to think and act” (William Isaacs) and to understand and learn from one another. (You cannot "win" a dialogue.)
  2. All dialogue participants speak for themselves, not as representatives of groups or special interests.
  3. Treat everyone in a dialogue as an equal: leave role, status and stereotypes at the door.
  4. Be open and listen to others even when you disagree with a particular perspective or statement; and try not to rush to judgment.
  5. Search for assumptions (especially your own).
  6. Listen with empathy to the views of others: acknowledge you have heard the other especially when you disagree.
  7. Look for common ground.
  8. Expressing disagreement is natural and expected but do so in terms of ideas, not personality or motives.
  9. Keep dialogue separate from decision-making. (Dialogue should always come before decision-making).

modified from http://www.viewpointlearning.com/about-us/ground-rules-for-dialogue/