The Art of Dialogue

Have you considered that sometimes we are talking at each other rather than with each other, and the outcome can be less than what we are aiming for? We’re just not Connecting. Design firm IDEO’s Fred Dust suggests that we need to step back and relearn the art of dialogue. It’s easy to see how technology and even TV, with its constant barrage of information (with little time to discuss or absorb), has helped exacerbate the situation. Dust proposes a unique way to foster discussion with his “Creative Tensions” group. In this format, people align themselves along a tension, for example “police make me feel safe,” and then move around the tension, holding discussions with people in different places. Much like many discussion concepts of the past such as Greek symposiums or Jeffersonian Dinners, the format results in a slowed down debate that allows both ends of the spectrum to emerge and be heard.

According to Dust, people are most open to discussion when coming out of a crisis, which is something we deal with daily in health care. How are we creating space to make Connections and have meaningful conversations as people emerge from crisis? How might we reimagine our dialogue structures to get back to really listening to each other?