Designing Dialogue Processes

How do you conduct a constructive dialogue with a large group? How do you organize the process – and the room – in such a way that attendees engage in […]
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Oct 15, 2017

How do you conduct a constructive dialogue with a large group? How do you organize the process – and the room – in such a way that attendees engage in a valuable conversation?

Expert facilitation on the spot is half the work. The other half: careful design and use of appropriate methods that meet the situation at hand.

Dialogue in complexity

The world is becoming increasingly complex. There are many issues that we can no longer resolve by ourselves, within our department or organization. We need the wisdom of those involved to understand what is going on and to come to new insights.

The debate is often not the right form. The focus on being right, hardens viewpoints and often drives parties even further apart. The dialogue is much more suitable to bring different perspectives together.

Very special to experience how participants took an open attitude from the very start.

In a constructive dialogue, you search for the whole and the connection between the parts, instead of dividing an issue into pieces. You question assumptions instead of defending them. You learn by discovering together instead of persuading and selling. You look for shared meaning, instead of consensus on a component.

Two-day in-company

In this two-day training ‘designing dialogue processes’ you learn the why, how and what of a constructive dialogue. The training offers you the basics to design large scale dialogue processes in complex settings. The training is intended for those who need to bring diverse stakeholders in complex situations together to achieve innovative breakthroughs.

The training is well-suited for managers, internal facilitators, organization and communication professionals who want to engage in (large scale) dialogues with internal and external stakeholders.

At the end of the training participants have a shared image and knowledge of:

  • The value of dialogue for socially complex situations
  • Building blocks to create common ground and mutually reinforcing actions with large groups of diverse stakeholders
  • When to use dialogue effectively, and when it is not appropriate
  • Principles of designing dialogue processes
  • A number of different work forms and possible applications
  • Shared image and knowledge of rules and facilitating techniques to conduct a constructive dialogue.


  1. Why dialogue: complexity & polarization
  2. In dialogue: conditions for success, steps and levels of listening
  3. Complexity Navigator: Building blocks design the dialogue process
  4. Principles of process design: goal, stakeholders, level of participation, process choices, program structure
  5. Dialogue methods for large groups, such as Open Space, Dialogue Circle, Future Search, Appreciative Inquiry, World Café, etc.

Various dialogue methods are applied during the training to experience different approaches.

Depending on your organisational needs and the duration of the training (between one and two days), we can pick one or two actual topics that play within your organization. This way the participants themselves experience the rules, steps and levels of listening and get a shared experience to reflect on together during and after the training.

More info