I am a passionate advocate of David Bohm's theory of dialogue as a more effective form of communication; which can help us to create new ways of thinking by sharing meaning together.
Bohm Dialogue is based on guiding principles that can be taught through practice and participation. The principles below illustrate the elements needed to form a comprehensive dialogue practice.
First and foremost it is important for each participant to be able to listen fully and deeply. We can develop our listening skills to be able to gain greater understanding of both others and ourselves.
When practising listening, it is the ability to suspend any judgements that may arise and make them available for inquiry, that can lead to the generation of new knowledge. Creating a non-judgemental space for a group requires trust, openness and honesty.
3. Suspension & Inquiry
Once we have developed the ability to suspend our initial judgements, we create room to make them available for inquiry. By exploring and challenging different perspectives we can begin to see the patterns that create our thought, and opportunities for new thinking together.
Dialogue is something creative. By sharing experience in a non-judgemental way, we are able to create new thinking together. Dialogue harnesses the power of our natural creativity, empowering the group.
4. Thought vs. Thinking
In Bohm dialogue, thought is seen as the product of past thinking-our memory and thought patterns. Thinking is a fresh response to any given situation, the ability to consider new ideas and perspectives.
7. New Thinking
The purpose of dialogue is to create new thinking together by sharing meaning. As Bohm said, 'a change of meaning, is a change of being,' and through the creation of new meaning and thinking we can achieve transformational change.
6. Creating Meaning
Dialogue allows us to appreciate the interconnectedness and interdependency of our knowledge and experience. It provides the time and space for reflection on our commonalities and differences in a way that creates meaning for all.
For a dialogue to be successful, participants will benefit from understanding the principles of dialogue and the values of the practice. A values-based approach ensures a strong foundation for the process and its outcomes.
Source material: On Dialogue, David Bohm; Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together, William Isaacs; Dialogue Rediscover the Transforming Power of Conversation, Linda Ellinor and Glenna Gerard