workshop on "dialogue" LO18605

Richard C. Holloway (
Mon, 13 Jul 1998 21:08:11 -0700

Replying to LO18593 --

Hello, Madeline--

I would suggest, primarily, that you don't (and can't) teach a workshop on
dialog. I encourage you to create a dialog group, explain some of the
ground rules for the group, and then facilitate the dialog. Better yet,
teach a workshop in listening.

A good way to start a dialog group (IMO) is to use a microphone (any
microphone prop will do fine--like an ink pen). Whoever has the
microphone has the "power of speech" and everyone else listens. The mike
can pass around--or it can go to the center of the circle, where others
need to pick it up from. Explain to participants that the intent of
dialog is to listen without judgment; to speak as the spirit moves them;
to remain genuine, authentic and in the moment; to speak from the heart
and for only themselves (from their own experience) and not for others.
If you find people keeping only an impersonal patter going (which seems to
be a common problem), intervene as a facilitator and begin a deeper

I like Bohm's thought that dialog serves it's participants in finding
shared meaning. It doesn't necessarily require agreement, consensus or
compromise--indeed, it only requires that people stay in the present and
within themselves. Sometimes a great dialog consists of only
listening--to one's own breathing.

Perhaps this quote will illustrate what I mean here: "Concentrate, and
listen not with your ears^Wbut with the heart. Then, not listening with
the heart, do so with the breath. The ear is limited to ordinary
listening; the heart (mind) to the rational. Listening with the breath,
one experiences all things in purity." ^WChuang Tzu

hope this helps--and good luck on the workshop


Madeline Keyes wrote:

> I am a graduate student at the University of West Chester in Pennsylvania.
> I am presently studying workshops and training and have been "tasked" to
> teach a workshop using some ideas developed around dialogue. I'm
> currently looking for a few exercises. Any details on those found in
> Peter Senge's book, "The Fifth Discipline" Any other suggestions or ideas
> on approaches, etc.?

Sitting quietly
doing nothing
spring comes
and the grass grows by itself.  -Zen Poem

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