Dialogue circles help you explore relationship and develop personally and professionally. They enable you to connect with others in heartfelt ways.
Dialogue is as old as humanity. For millennia people have gathered together and built relationship through an exchange of thoughts, feelings, experiences. However, the term “dialogue” is used in an increasingly overt way, as modern day societies try to make sense of how we connect in evolving and complex environments.
Our work in the specific area of dialogue has a threefold aim:
- to foster heartfelt connection where people can be met, heard, understood
- to provide a space for growth, offering opportunities for increased awareness of oneself, other and the wider environment in which we live
- to support the exploration of difference, and investigate themes such as empathy, boundaries, acceptance, letting-go
We do this by bringing people together in groups, often in circles, and designing approaches that support conversations and allow people to investigate the art and form of connecting with others. In essence our approach allows people to pay attention to the power of relationship. You find out more about what happens for you when you connect with others and develop choice and agency over how you build relationship.
We have an ever-growing overview of dialogue practices used across the globe which we use to design bespoke dialogue practices for your organisation. We work closely with you to design the process that helps your “members” have productive conversations. We help people express what needs to be expressed, and hear what needs to be heard. We help people grow and develop. We also run our own dialogue groups, more details of which you can find on the Events page.
Whatever the focus (see examples below), dialogue groups usually meet at set intervals for an agreed period of time, on either a closed group agreement where no new members can join after the group starts or an open group arrangement where people can join the group as and when they choose.
Examples of dialogue groups:
a group that helps staff members gain a deeper understanding of how they both make contact with, and respond to, others in the way they do
a group that helps a community shine a light on a subject of interest and its meaning to the different members
a group that helps a team, family, or community, hear and better understand each others differences on a given subject
a group that looks to help a company, organisation, family, or non-aligned group, develop new perspectives or skills
a group that helps a seemingly random collection of people investigate the possibility of simply being together in the same space
The role of the facilitator:
The facilitator guides the participants and wider group through the dialogue towards the goals that have been laid out. This may include helping people reflect on their experience, understand more about the dynamics of specific inter-personal interactions, negotiate differences, and pay attention to wider themes that are evolving from the dialogue.
The facilitator’s role is likely to be subtly different in each group, depending on the focus of the work. Invariably though the facilitator has a role to hold and support the group; sometimes through the delivery of a clear approach and programme, sometimes through more nuanced and subtle interventions that aid growth and learning, and sometimes through attending to the logistics of the group.
“inscrutably involved, we live in the currents of universal reciprocity” – Martin Buber