What is Conversation?
True conversation flows back and forth between 2 or 3 people with a commitment to listen, rethink and connect with new ideas and new possibilities for both understanding and action.

What is Dialogue?
Effective dialogue is a conversation between a group of people and can be more difficult to achieve. It requires us to be open to different perspectives and, when successful, it enables us to learn and engage with others. It asks us to put our ready formed opinions into ‘suspension’ and to listen anew.

Ideas & opinions
Ideas are like objects that we sculpt with a mix of reason and passion. We receive some ideas (from figures of authority such as parents or teachers) and form others through experience, holding them and ‘fixing’ them as our own opinions. We repeat these over and over, often defending them as part of our identity. These ideas & opinions form our foundations and in this way shape how we both think and act.

What role do questions play?
Without questions there are no conversations and no dialogue, just one-way monologues. With a question the communication process is ignited opening up the possibility of conversation and dialogue.

What can we gain from Conversation & Dialogue?
Exploring our personal relationships to words & ideas reveals the different perspectives behind the surface of assumed common understandings. These explorations provide the rich fuel for deeper communication and appreciating difference. On this foundation we can begin to build shared understandings both at work and at play and to construct a flexible sense of community which can accommodate different views.

Why have a trained facilitator?
A facilitator ensures that there is a clear and safe space for disagreement and agreement. That the simple structure is adhered to, that the inquiry is kept open and that the inquiry does not slip into the familiar techniques of polarised argument, debate and persuasion. In this way participants are enabled to share, explore and articulate new and often complex ideas.