Templates for Respectful Dialogue


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The Three Ds – Debate, Discussion, and Dialogue

Dialogue
In dialogue, the goal is shared understanding of the issue. Costs and consequences of even the most favored approaches are examined. We assume many people have pieces of the answer and a workable solution can be found. It requires listening to understand and find meaning in each other’s words. Assumptions are re-evaluated, opening up possiblities for new solutions, leading to mutual understanding of differences and ways to act even with those differences in place.

Debate
Debate is oppositional; two opposing sides try to prove each other wrong. We don’t want that.

Discussion
Discussion is often aimless with no constructive goal, often by people of like mind. Not the most productive.

[Source: www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/uploadedFiles/schools/.../DiagloguevDebate018.pdf]

The following are templates for RESPECTFUL DIALOGUE. Please dive in and use!

First of all, make sure you really understand each other’s viewpoint and mine each other for knowledge
Clarifying:

  • Could you give me your view in one sentence?
  • Is it your position that X?
  • To be clear, are you saying that…
  • I’m confused when you say X, can you elaborate?

Often as not, you will find things that you actually agree upon!
Agreeing:

  • I agree with Z because…
  • Z’s point about X is important because…
  • The evidence for X is overwhelming when you consider that…
  • Z and I are coming from the same position.
  • Despite disagreeing about Y, I agree with Z that…

Even better, you can add to the growing body of knowledge in the thread, improving our blogs and veracity as a news source
Building On:
*Z mentioned that X, and that reminds me of something else we should consider…

  • Yes, and furthermore…
  • Z’s claim that X is interesting because…
  • Adding to what Z said,…
  • If we change Z’s position just a little, the plan might be more cost effective to implement…

Variability in thinking is encouraged. A think tank comprised of uniform-agreement is stagnant. Be respectful when you disagree and put your emphasis on an opportunity to consider something else over one person being wrong and another right
I disagree:

  • I appreciate your interpretation of X. It is true that X. Have you ever considered, Y, though?
  • One way to incorporate both of our concerns might be X.
  • I see it differently because…
  • The evidence I’ve seen suggests something different. Are you aware that…
  • Some of that is fact, but some of it seems to be opinion as well. What I mean by that is…
  • I agree that X, but we also have to consider that…
  • We see X differently. Perhaps I see it differently because…

Unfortunately, whenever you get humans together there are always a few bad apples and, lets face it, none of us are perfect, particularly when discussing topics that we are passionate about, but we always encourage taking the high road and treating others with the respect that you would want in return

Inappropriate flagged posts:

  • Please only post comments relevant to the topic. Is there any way we can address your concern?
  • Personal attacks aren’t permitted. This is a safe environment. Can you delete and rephrase your statement?
  • We discourage speaking for someone else. Please let each person explain their own position.
  • Please provide facts to back up your statement so that we can best incorporate your contribution into our discussion.

closed #2