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1 November 2007

Dialogue and Debate

Read not to contradict and confute, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider.

~Sir Francis Bacon, English author, courtier, & philosopher (1561 - 1626)

Sometimes, like today, I wonder if the wonderful art of reading and conversation has disappeared and it is always such a pleasure to find someone with whom one can have and hold one. (May explain why it is making such a comeback as a KM concept but, I digress)
Talk Shows- on television, is talk the same as conversation? I'd think so, but I may be wrong. I need to check that one but I'd safely assume that when they say talkshow they mean normally two, sometimes more people talk (converse) on a topic.

Then why do they appear as anything but that? Of the many talk shows, if I had to pick just one- not allowed any criteria or conditions and say which is my favorite one, then I'd pick Parkinson. The few episodes I have seen, I have enjoyed. Of course I watch (and enjoy) Oprah. But just talk (show) - of television series, I do think - Parkinson.

While on the topics of reading, talking and conversing this one should not be left out;

A comparison of dialogue & debate;

Dialogue is collaborative: two or more sides work together toward common understanding.
Debate is oppositional: two sides oppose each other and attempt to prove each other wrong.

In dialogue, finding common ground is the goal.
In debate, winning is the goal.

In dialogue, one listens to the other side(s) in order to understand, find meaning, and find agreement.
In debate, one listens to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments.

Dialogue enlarges and possibly changes a participant's point of view.
Debate affirms a participant's own point of view.

Dialogue reveals assumptions for reevaluation.
Debate defends assumptions as truth.

Dialogue causes introspection on one's own position.
Debate causes critique of the other position.

Dialogue opens the possibility of reaching a better solution than any of the original solutions.
Debate defends one's own positions as the best solution and excludes other solutions.

Dialogue creates an open-minded attitude: an openness to being wrong and an openness to change.
Debate creates a closed-minded attitude, a determination to be right.

In dialogue, one submits one's best thinking, knowing that other peoples' reflections will help improve it rather than destroy it.
In debate, one submit's one's best thinking and defends it against challenge to show that it is right.

Dialogue calls for temporarily suspending one's beliefs.
Debate calls for investing wholeheartedly in one's beliefs.

In dialogue, one searches for basic agreements.
In debate, one searches for glaring differences.

In dialogue, one searches for strengths in the other positions.
In debate, one searches for flaws and weaknesses in the other position.

Dialogue involves a real concern for the other person and seeks to not alienate or offend.
Debate involves a countering of the other position without focusing on feelings or relationship and often belittles or deprecates the other person.

Dialogue assumes that many people have pieces of the answer and that together they can put them into a workable solution.
Debate assumes that there is a right answer and that someone has it.

Dialogue remains open-ended.
Debate implies a conclusion.

To understand how to transform differences into opportunities, and you don't mind reading a longer and more technical document, then read this.

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