Posted by Keiva Hummel | February 21st, 2018
Living Room Conversation published the conversation guide, Guns and Responsibility, which was released October 2017. The guide gives pointers on how to hold living room conversations in order to develop a deeper understanding between participants around gun beliefs, gun safety, and responsible gun ownership. You can read the guide below, find a downloadable PDF here, or the original on Living Room Conversation’s site here.
From the guide…
In Living Room Conversations, a small group of people (e.g. 4-7) people come together to get to know one another in a more meaningful way. Guided by a simple and sociable format, participants practice being open and curious about all perspectives, with a focus on learning from one another, rather than trying to debate the topic at hand.
The Living Room Conversation Ground Rules
Be Curious and Open to Learning
Listen to and be open to hearing all points of view. Maintain an attitude of exploration and learning.
Conversation is as much about listening as it is about talking.
Show Respect and Suspend Judgment
Human beings tend to judge one another, do your best not to. Setting judgments aside will better
enable you to learn from others and help them feel respected and appreciated.
Look for Common Ground and Appreciate Differences
In this conversation, we look for what we agree on and simply appreciate that we will disagree on
some beliefs and opinions.
Be Authentic and Welcome that from Others
Share what’s important to you. Speak authentically from your personal and heartfelt experience. Be
considerate to others who are doing the same.
Be Purposeful and to the Point
Notice if what you are conveying is or is not “on purpose” to the question at hand. Notice if you are
making the same point more than once.
Own and Guide the Conversation
Take responsibility for the quality of your participation and the conversation by noticing what’s
happening and actively support getting yourself and others back “on purpose” when needed.
Though feedback is consistently positive, some people are concerned about managing people that dominate the conversation as well as off-topic, or disruptive situations during the Living Room Conversation. We offer these tips:
● Everyone shares responsibility for guiding the conversation and is invited to help keep the conversation on track.
● The group can decide to keep track of time in some way to help people remember to keep their comments similar in length to others. Soft music when the time is up is a great reminder.
● If an area of interest has arisen that has taken the group off topic, ask the group if they would like to set aside the new topic for a separate Living Room Conversation.
● If someone is dominating, disruptive or has found their soapbox, respectfully interrupt the situation, refer to the Ground Rules and invite everyone to get back on track with the current question
● If the group opts to shift from the format of the Living Room Conversations, please provide us with feedback for future learning. There are many ways to have a great conversation! Thank you! email@example.com
Rounds/Questions: The Living Room Conversation Starts Here
We all care about the victims of gun violence. We all love our children and our family. We all want children to arrive home safely at the end of the day. We have seen tragedy in our communities and want that to end. Let’s start with this as a given. This conversation focuses on our own personal experience with guns, gun safety and our beliefs about the balance between constitutional right and common good. This is a conversation about our hopes and concerns with a diverse set of community members in order to develop a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges surrounding responsible gun ownership.
Background Information: While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
Round One: Getting Started / Why Are We Here?
● What interested you or drew you to this conversation?
Round Two: Core Values
Answer one or more of the following:
● What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
● What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you “tick”?
● What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
Round Three: Guns and Responsibility
Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer one or more of the following questions:
● Where did you learn about guns? And what did you learn?
● What role have guns played in your life?
● What are your concerns about gun safety?
● Are gun issues on your top 10 list of concerns? Why or why not?
Round Four: Reflection
Answer one or more of the following questions:
● In one sentence, share what was most meaningful / valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation.
● What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on this topic?
● Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
Round Five: Accomplishment and Next Steps
Answer both of the following questions:
● What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here?
● Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
Closing – Thank you! Please complete the feedback form to help improve Living Room Conversations.
To download a printable version of this conversation guide with the feedback form, click here.
About Living Room Conversations
Living Room Conversations are a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us. They provide an easy structure for engaging in friendly yet meaningful conversation with those with whom we may not agree. These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is needed.
Follow on Twitter: @LivingRoomConvo
Resource Link: www.livingroomconversations.org/topics/guns_and_responsibility/
Posted by Sandy Heierbacher | October 11th, 2017
Story Artist Mary Alice Arthur and graphic facilitator Viola Clark collaborated in 2016 to create the first in their Zine series – a POCKET GUIDE TO HOSTING. One side features the Art of Hosting practices, the other side features the AoH methods. Here is a little snapshot of a couple of pages of the zine. (A zine is a self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier.)
Art of Hosting will be using the Zine in the upcoming trainings in Innsbruck, Austria and Denmark.
Next in the series will be Harvesting.
Mary Alice advises: “It is set up as an A4 (if you are not on the A4 system, shrink to fit the space) — follow the instructions for folding (and unleash your inner creative geek!).”
Resource Link: https://ncdd.org/rc/wp-content/uploads/AoHHostingZine.pdf
Posted by Keiva Hummel | April 28th, 2017
The article, More Than a Seat at the Table: A Resource for Authentic and Equitable Youth Engagement (2016), was written by Rebecca Reyes and Malana Rogers-Bursen, and published on Everyday Democracy. This article explores several challenges when it comes to youth engagement and offers solutions to more effectively engage young people. It is important to engage young people in meaningful ways and for them to be a part of the key decision-making processes. Use this article as a way to gauge if your processes are inclusive of young people and how to improve those processes to better engage youth. Below is an excerpt of the article from Everyday Democracy, and can find the full article with all the examples of the specific challenges and solutions here.
From Everyday Democracy…
If you’re working on creating change in your community, it’s important to include all kinds of people in decision-making, including young people. The insight and talents of young people can bring value to any community change effort, yet community groups led by older adults sometimes find it hard to involve younger people, or keep them engaged.
We’ve led workshops on youth engagement to help people explore challenges they may face and think about possible solutions. People of all ages and from many sectors contributed their ideas for successfully engaging young people in their efforts. We’ve compiled a number of challenges that you may have encountered in your work or that may come up in the future, along with ways to address these challenges in your group.
There are many barriers young people can face that prevent them from getting involved. The barrier may be logistical, such as a meeting time or location. Even when we get young people to the table, they might not feel like they have an equal voice or decision making power.
Whenever we bring young people onto a planning team or steering committee, we need to make sure they’re making a meaningful contribution. Think back to how you were involved as a young person. Would you have been satisfied if you were asked to join a sports team, but were never allowed to play? What about if you volunteered with a group, but weren’t given any specific task to do? Or if you didn’t see the impact you were making at your workplace, however small?
Ultimately, the goal is to create intergenerational work with equitable relationships. This means that young people not only have a seat at the table and contribute in a meaningful way, but they are also a key part of decision-making. Engagement is just the first step.
Before you bring young people onto the team, it’s good practice to have a conversation about why it’s important to include young people and how you envision them contributing. Make sure everyone is on board and understands young people’s value.
Another important step is setting ground rules. This can help make sure that people have equal voice in meetings and respect for each individual’s opinion regardless of age.
The challenges and solutions you’ll read about can come into play no matter which age range you’re targeting, but you should define as a group what you mean by “youth” or “young people.” We define “youth” as anyone who is middle school and high school age, typically between the ages of 12-18. We define “young adult” as anyone between the ages of 18-30, and “young people” as anyone under 30. It’s also important to recognize that there are many different experiences people may have, even within these age ranges.
Note that young people aren’t the only ones who might face some of the challenges listed below. When you address these barriers, you’re being inclusive of many groups of people.
This is an in-depth list that is meant to be used as a reference whenever issues arise. Feel free to scroll through the list of scenarios and solutions, or click one of the links below to jump to a specific challenge:
– Understand how young people can contribute
– Making meetings and events appealing to young people
– Young people may not be aware of unspoken norms and practices
– Experience barriers
– The norms and practices are set and communicated by adults
– Young people have limited voice in meetings
– Allowing young people to try something that didn’t work in the past
– One young person is asked to be the voice for their peers
– The same young people are always invited
– Microaggressions get in the way of building bridges between generations and cultural and racial identities
– Decisions made by planning teams don’t reflect the diversity of the community
About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.
Follow on Twitter: @EvDem
Resource Link: www.everyday-democracy.org/tips/authentic-and-equitable-youth-engagement
Posted by Keiva Hummel | April 18th, 2017
The 42-page article, Affinity Groups, Enclave Deliberation, and Equity (2016), was written by Carolyne Abdullah, Christopher Karpowitz, and Chad Raphael, and published in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 12: Iss. 2. The article provides evidence for the practice of holding enclaves for marginalized groups within dialogue and deliberation processes, as part of a larger conversation. They have found that by creating space within affinity groups for enclaves to dialogue; processes are more inclusive, participatory, and democratic. The authors show several ways in which enclave groups can be used in democratic processes and implemented within government practice.
Read an excerpt of the article below and find the PDF available for download on the Journal of Public Deliberation site here.
From the article…
Organizers of dialogue and deliberation employ several common strategies aimed at achieving equal inclusion, participation, and influence in civic forums. In forums that are open to all who want to join, each participant typically has an equal opportunity to attend, speak, and, if applicable, an equal vote. Forums that restrict participation to a sample of the public take further steps to practice equality. To achieve proportional representation of members of marginalized groups, organizers often recruit random samples or quasi-representative microcosms of the public, or recruit participants in part through networks of social service or civil society organizations (Leighninger, 2012). Some forums subsidize the costs of participation – including information acquisition, time, and money – by providing background materials about the issues, translation services, paying stipends to participants, and the like (Lee, 2011). To create conditions for equal participation and influence, facilitators set ground rules that encourage sharing of speaking time, respect for participants regardless of status or identity, and openness to a broad range of communication styles (Gastil & Levine, 2005). Each of these strategies seeks inclusion of the disempowered on more equal discursive terms than are often found in traditional public meetings, which can be dominated by more privileged citizens, or by officials or policy experts, and which are not designed to engender cooperative talk between community members as equals (Gastil, 2008).
While these are important strategies, they can be insufficient. Even forums that most aim to create representative microcosms of a community are hard pressed to include proportional numbers of community members who are disadvantaged by their education, income, race, gender, age, and political interest (Jacobs, Cook, & Delli Carpini 2009; Ryfe & Stalsburg 2012). Research often finds that despite organizers’ best efforts, more privileged participants – white, male, highly educated, and professional – speak and influence decisions more than other participants (for summaries, see Black, 2012; Karpowitz & Mendelberg, 2014; Karpowitz & Raphael, 2014). Information, issues, and choices are often framed from the perspective of the powerful, even when presented as neutral or in terms of the “common good” (Young, 2000; Christiano, 2012).
In this article, we argue that incorporating stages of enclave discussion among disempowered people within larger political forums or processes can help move us beyond formal equality to achieve more substantively equitable dialogue and deliberation.1 Democratic theorists have long recognized that members of less privileged groups need to confer among themselves in civil society associations in order to contribute autonomously and effectively to discussion in the wider public sphere (Fraser, 1992; Mansbridge, 1996; Sunstein, 2000). We extend this insight to civic forums, processes, and institutions that aim to engage the whole community, maintaining that it would be better for equity, and ultimately for the quality of deliberation, to integrate opportunities for discussion among the least powerful. We argue that enclaves can counteract background inequalities among participants, the difficult dynamics of small group discussion among people of different statuses, and the dominance of associations and ideas of the privileged in the wider political system. And we believe these benefits of enclaves can be realized not just in advocacy groups or social movements, but in the institutions of democratic deliberation that have been developed over the past few decades, from innovative government-led methods of public consultation and stakeholder engagement to forums such as Deliberative Polls, Consensus Conferences, Citizens Assemblies, and the like.
In this light, enclave discussion is not necessarily an inferior version of crosscutting talk among a microcosm of the public, which is often the dominant ideal in deliberative democratic theory and practice. Indeed, enclaves are a feature of the traditional political institutions from which many contemporary civic forums draw metaphorical legitimacy and some design features. Consider the role of enclaves in the namesake institutions of our “21st Century Town Meetings,” “Citizens Assemblies,” “Deliberative Polls,” and the like. Citizens who want to bring proposals to Town Meetings meet in like-minded groups to develop their arguments beforehand (Mansbridge, 1983). Members of legislative assemblies form caucuses based on common issue priorities and interests. Individual polling responses are shaped in part by our networks of family, friends, and others with whom we discuss politics. Like all forms of political communication, talking in enclaves poses some threats to good dialogue and deliberation, and we discuss ways of overcoming these dangers. But we start from a belief that enclaves are natural and necessary organs of healthy political institutions rather than warts on the body politic.
We begin by defining the kind of enclaves we are advocating, which share marginalized perspectives or social locations rather than essentialized identities, and the ways in which their members may be disempowered in deliberation among heterogeneous groups. Next, we draw on the empirical literature to describe the contributions that enclaves of the disadvantaged can make to creating more equitable and higher quality civic deliberation. We also describe the potential dangers of enclave discussions – such as extremism, sectarianism, and conformism – and why we see these dynamics as pitfalls that can be avoided by good deliberative design rather than as iron laws of political communication. For us, the key is to connect enclave deliberation among the marginalized well to other elements of the political system, and so we review several ways in which enclaves have been integrated productively into larger structures of democratic deliberation in forums and institutional processes that aim to represent a whole polity. To illustrate some more specific design principles for enclave deliberation, we present an extended example drawn from a set of dialogues in the U.S., entitled Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation. Finally, we discuss conditions in which enclave deliberation is most likely to be needed to create equity and sketch out an agenda for future research on the topic.
Download the full article from the Journal of Public Deliberation here.
About the Journal of Public Deliberation
Spearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form.
Follow the Deliberative Democracy Consortium on Twitter: @delibdem
Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA
Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol12/iss2/art6/
NCDD’s October 2010 Resource Guide on Public Engagement showcases the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation’s best collaboratively-created products (like the Core Principles for Public Engagement and the Engagement Streams Framework), as well as recognizing and directing you to a lot of the great work on public engagement that has been done by others in our field.
Created for our 2010 regional events (all attendees received a copy), this must-have guidebook was developed to share stories and resources with the dialogue and deliberation community, public managers, and anyone else with an interest in public engagement.
Here’s how the Engaging Cities blog described the Resource Guide:
It’s a small compendium full of valuable knowledge on all facets of public engagement. Not only does the guide contain a directory of valuable resources, points of contact, and case studies of collaborations that work, but it also contains some of the more exciting results of last year’s conferences. Items such as the ‘Core Principles for Public Engagement’ remind us of how far we’ve come, the commonality of our goals and how much more we have yet to achieve.
The brief ‘Online Engagement’ section of the manual is a fantastic introduction and database of resources, including Public Agenda’s Promising Practices to Online Engagement that we helped write. And the ‘Upgrading the Way We Do Politics’ portion of the manual addresses common issues found when politics and public engagement intersect.
Handling the material in a constructive manner, NCDD provides helpful tips and positive suggestions for improvement. Extremely informative, the ‘Engagement Streams’ matrix ties common goals of public engagement to strategies that complement those goals in proven ways while also showcasing key features that will help in achieving that goal. The matrix is invaluable for anyone involved in public outreach. In fact, the entire manual is invaluable for anyone involved in public outreach and engagement.
Created by NCDD director Sandy Heierbacher in collaboration with Martin Carcasson, Will Friedman and Alison Kadlec (and based on Carcasson’s paper Beginning With the End in Mind), the Goals of Dialogue & Deliberation graphic pictured here outlines 3 types of goals for public problem-solving work. In a nutshell, the three tiers of goals are individual and knowledge-based goals, immediate group/community outcomes, and longer-term capacity building and community change. Click on the image to view a larger version of the graphic.
In a summer 2009 occasional paper published by Public Agenda‘s Center for Advances in Public Engagement (CAPE), NCDD member Martin Carcasson of Colorado State University’s Center for Public Deliberation outlines three broad categories of goals for deliberation. The essay explores how a clearer understanding of the goals and purposes we are trying to achieve through public engagement can sharpen our methods and increase our impacts. It offers a practical framework to help practitioners systematically consider both their short-term and long-term goals and the strategies that will set them up for success.
Carcasson’s paper is titled Beginning with the End in Mind: A Call for Goal-Driven Deliberative Practice (Summer 2009), and can be downloaded for free at this link. NCDD’s Director, Sandy Heierbacher, was deeply impressed by the paper and Carcasson’s brilliantly simple “Goals of Deliberation” framework. Carcasson points out that although “first-order goals” like issue learning and improved democratic attitudes are often discounted as we focus on our primary goals related to concrete action and impact on policy, those first-order goals still impact the big-picture goal of increasing a community’s civic capacity and ability to solve problems.
In July 2009, Heierbacher spoke to Carcasson about expanding his “Goals of Deliberation” framework slightly so public dialogue for purposes of conflict resolution or conflict management are also emphasized in the framework (he was very interested). In the paper, Carcasson writes about “improved relationships” between individuals and groups as a first-order goal, and mentions that conflict management is another second-level goal… yet his framework figure did not feature those goals.
In close communication with Carcasson as well as Will Friedman and Alison Kadlec of Public Agenda, Heierbacher expanded on the framework to create the Goals of Dialogue & Deliberation graphic pictured here. Click on the graphic to view a larger image.
Both the original and the adapted frameworks emphasize improved community problem solving and increased civic capacity as longer-term goals of public engagement work. As we work from project to project, we can lose sight of the fact that our work is contributing to the bigger picture goal of more democratic, effective communities and cultures. In the online dialogue we held at CivicEvolution.org on the “Action & Change” challenge before the 2008 NCDD conference, Joseph McIntyre of the Ag Futures Alliance noted that although public engagement work can lead to numerous types of action outcomes and products, often “D&D is simply plowing the field and planting the seeds that will result in the changes needed. In my case, D&D is part of an evolutionary change.”
In his new book, Democracy as Problem Solving: Civic Capacity in Communities Across the Globe (2008: MIT Press), Xavier de Souza Briggs shows how civic capacity—the capacity to create and sustain smart collective action—is crucial for strengthening governance and changing the state of the world in the process.
Valuing shorter-term first-order goals and the overall development of civic capacity may be more practical – and satisfying – than solely emphasizing second-order goals like collaborative action and policy change, since such goals usually depend on many decisions and factors outside the scope of any one project. Practitioners should consider all three types of goals when determining project design and when measuring their success.
Carcasson’s essay and the Goals of Dialogue & Deliberation framework are helping to create much-needed clarity about the link between public engagement, civic capacity building, and shorter-term goals. It is a great complement to NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework, which NCDD and its members have used since 2005 to help people decide which engagement methods best fit their goals and resources.
In a forthcoming article for the International Journal for Public Participation, Heierbacher includes the adapted framework in a section on the importance for practitioners to establish their own definitions of success. At the 2008 NCDD conference, even funders were emphasizing the need for practitioners to (1) own the definition of success and then (2) demonstrate their success. At a breakfast John Esterle and Chris Gates hosted for a cross-section of NCDD leaders to discuss funding challenges and opportunities for this work, Esterle, Executive Director of The Whitman Institute and board chair of Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE), implored those present to empower themselves regarding impact. “Let funders know, ‘this is how we measure our success.’” Be proactive and able to articulate your impact in a compelling way.
We hope this framework helps practitioners do just that.
Posted by NCDD Community | March 27th, 2019
The following meeting facilitation tips were submitted by John Godec of The Participation Company. As public sector consultants, The Participation Company helps government agencies manage public issues to accomplish agency objectives. Their private sector business clients are able to maintain or improve their relationships with the public and gain support for their projects.
Facilitating meetings can be both an art and a science when the issues being discussed are comparably complex. Getting the right people involved in the discussion from the start can go a long way in your being able to facilitate successfully. Inviting those “right” people is key to reaching consensus. But how to craft an effective invitation is not always a skill everyone has. Here are some meeting facilitation tips to help when creating meeting invitations:
You want your invitation to create anticipation in the recipient. Craft an announcement to your event in a way that will make it feel more like an invitation to a special event. Those invited will be excited to attend and will feel honored to have been included.
Help People Decide
A successful invitation also gives those who are not interested in your event permission to miss it. Knowing those who do actually show up are those who really wanted to be there and that those who chose not to be there didn’t attend is sure to be a relief. Design your invitation to help people easily decide if they even want to be a part of the facilitation process. Facilitating such meetings is made easier when those who want to be there are the ones who attend.
Explain the Way it Works
If you’re trying to figure out how to facilitate a meeting or if you’re planning to host a series of events, describe the order in a way that lets people choose when they want to become engaged. Describing each event will help them feel like they aren’t missing opportunities along the way.
An example of how to accomplish this could be to:
Just because the invitations have been sent doesn’t mean the excitement should end. Restating the purpose of the event during the opening remarks will help focus the discussions you as facilitator anticipate. Reminding attendees of the intended purpose of the event will also make it easier to refocus everyone if people stray off topic.
Happy Successful Facilitating
These meeting facilitation tips should help you create engaging invitations to public participation events, resulting in your facilitating successfully. No matter how effective a facilitator you are, invitations are an important way to make those events even more successful from the beginning.
Posted by D&D Resources | December 24th, 2009
Dialogue and deliberation are dynamic processes which can be empathy-enhancing, relationship-changing, problem-solving, action-planning, organization-developing, community-building, conflict-resolving, skill developing, prejudice reducing, consciousness-raising, and more! The various models and methods that are used in our field often emphasize, strive for and obtain different outcomes. This resource shares some great quotes from over a dozen leaders in the D&D community about what “dialogue” means to them.
Also see our list of leaders’ definitions of deliberation.
How do people in the field describe dialogue?‘Dialogue is shared exploration towards greater understanding, connection, or possibility.’
– Tom Atlee, The Co-Intelligence Institute, www.co-intelligence.org
‘Dialogue means we sit and talk with each other, especially those with whom we may think we have the greatest differences. However, talking together all too often means debating, discussing with a view to convincing the other, arguing for our point of view, examining pro’s and con’s. In dialogue, the intention is not to advocate but to inquire; not to argue but to explore; not to convince but to discover.’
– Louise Diamond, Ph.D., The Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, www.imtd.org
‘Dialogue is about what we value and how we define it. It is about discovering what our true values are, about looking beyond the superficial and automatic answers to our questions. Dialogue is about expanding our capacity for attention, awareness and learning with and from each other. It is about exploring the frontiers of what it means to be human, in relationship to each other and our world.’
– Glenna Gerard, The Dialogue Group
‘A dialogue is a forum that draws participants from as many parts of the community as possible to exchange information face-to-face, share personal stories and experiences, honestly express perspectives, clarify viewpoints, and develop solutions to community concerns.’
–PresidentClinton’s InitiativeonRace,1998, http://clinton2.nara.gov/Initiatives/OneAmerica/america.html
‘Dialogue derives from the Greek word, dialogos. Logos can be explained as ‘meaning of the word’ and dia means ‘through.’ ‘Dialogue can be among any number of people, not just two. It is a stream of meaning flowing among and through us and between us, in the whole group, out of which may emerge some new form of understanding or shared meaning.’
– David Bohm, On Dialogue
‘Dialogue is a process of genuine interaction through which human beings listen to each other deeply enough to be changed by what they learn. Each makes a serious effort to take others’ concerns into her or his own picture, even when disagreement persists. No participant gives up her or his identity, but each recognizes enough of the other’s valid human claims that he or she will act differently toward the other.’
– Harold Saunders, A Public Peace Process, www.sustaineddialogue.org/researchpublications.htm
‘The goal [of dialogue] is to deepen understanding and judgment, and to think about ways to make a difference on a community issue you care about. This can occur in a safe, focused discussion when people exchange views freely and consider a variety of views. The process – democratic discussion among equals – is as important as the content.’
– Everyday Democracy, Toward a More Perfect Union, www.everyday-democracy.org
‘The purpose [of dialogue] is to explore alternate viewpoints, to foster respect and understanding, and to help gain greater skill both communicating and working more effectively across social and ethnic boundaries.’
– Ethnic Dialogues, University of Kentucky Student Center
‘Dialogue is about bringing together many voices, many stories, many perspectives, many experiences with a goal to increase understanding about others and ourselves. It is a safe and honest facilitated discussion aimed at providing an opportunity to tell your story, listen to others and build understanding.’
– Jen Murphy, George Mason University’s UDRP Dialogue Project
‘Dialogue is a foundational communication process leading directly to personal and organizational transformation. It assists in creating environments of high trust and openness, with reflective and generative capacities. One might think of dialogue as a revolutionary approach in the development of the following organizational disciplines: continuous learning, diversity, conflict exploration, decision making and problem solving, leadership, self-managing teams, organizational planning and alignment, and culture change.’
– Linda Ellinor, The Dialogue Group
‘When I thought about Dialogue in this larger sense, I had the image of the open central courtyard in an old fashioned, Latin American home…you could enter the central courtyard by going around and through any of the multiple arched entryways that surrounded this open, flower-filled space in the middle of the house…For me, Dialogue is like entering this central courtyard in the spacious home of our common human experience. There are many doorways to this central courtyard, just as there are many points of entry to the experience of Dialogue. Indigenous councils, salons, study circles, women’s circles, farm worker house meetings, wisdom circles, non-traditional diplomatic efforts and other conversational modalities from many cultures and historical periods had both contributed to and drawn from the generative space that we were calling Dialogue.’
– Juanita Brown, The World Café, www.theworldcafe.com
‘Dialogue is a process which enables people from all walks of life to talk deeply and personally about some of the major issues and realities that divide them. Dialogues are powerful, transformational experiences that often lead to both personal and collaborative action. Dialogue is often deliberative, involving the weighing of various options and the consideration of different viewpoints for the purpose of reaching agreement on action steps or policy decisions.’
– Sandy Heierbacher, The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, www.ncdd.org
‘Most people don’t know how to talk together as effectively as they need to. But we can learn to recognize the dynamics of conversations. We can create ‘containers’: fields for deeper communication. We can anticipate breakdowns and recognize them as the natural result of brewing relationships. We can draw to the surface undiscussable dangerous issues without inciting people to anger, inviting them instead to talk about dangerous subjects from an atmosphere of mutual interest. Once we know how to do all these things, and more, we can lead people into a space where they are truly thinking together, and where that in turn leads to dramatic new levels of alignment and capability.’
– DIA-logos International
Did you ever wonder how Citizens Juries are different from Deliberative Polling? When should you use World Cafe, rather than Open Space? Or are Charrettes what's called for? First developed in 2005, NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework (web version) helps people navigate the range of dialogue and deliberation approaches available to them, and make design choices that best fit their circumstance and resources.
No method works in all situations, yet too often people become overly attached to the first D&D process they learn about -- and end up with less-than-satisfying results. Although it was designed for beginners to these processes, the tool also helps more seasoned practitioners understand where their own experience resides on the continuum, and which methods they may want to learn more about depending on the needs of their communities or clients.
The framework presents two charts:
Acknowledgments and CitationsSandy Heierbacher, NCDD's Director, initially developed this resource to help inform workshops she presented in October 2005 with Tonya Gonzalez (at Everyday Democracy's national conference) and Jan Elliott (at the Canadian Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation).
This framework built on a number of previous efforts to categorize or describe the public engagement and conflict transformation fields. All of the scholars and practitioners whose work was utilized to develop this framework (Barnett Pearce, Harold Saunders, Patricia Wilson, Tom Atlee, Matt Leighninger, Archon Fung, and others) were contacted for their feedback on the framework. Many of them provided ongoing feedback as we developed the framework.
The framework is most similar to and borrows most heavily from the four "social technologies for civic engagement" identified by Patricia Wilson in the article "Deep Democracy: The Inner Practice of Civic Engagement" (Fieldnotes: A Newsletter of the Shambhala Institute, Issue No. 2, February 2004). Download Wilson's article here.
NCDD's Engagement Streams Framework was featured in the May 2006 issue of IAP2's Participation Quarterly publication. It was featured in a book published by the United Nations Development Programme called Democratic Dialogue: A Handbook for Practitioners, and is described in Sandy Heierbacher's chapter on D&D in the 2nd Edition of The Change Handbook. Since 2005, it has been used by practitioners countless times to help community leaders and public managers understand their options.
Feel free to use and share this data widely. The framework can be cited in publications as:
NCDD's Engagement Streams Framework (2005). Created by Sandy Heierbacher and members of the NCDD community. National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation. www.ncdd.org/streams
Two other documents are available for download:
Excel version of the Engagement Streams Framework
Two straightforward charts on two separate tabs. To ensure legibility, print this out on legal-sized (8.5" x 14") paper. The Excel version has been updated to include all 22 methods, and to include links to more information about each method. You can also download a PDF of this legal-size version of the framework. (updated August 2010)
One-Page ComicLife Diagram of the Four Streams of Practice (.jpg image - 2.6 MB)
This fun handout (pictured right) provides a snapshot of the four streams of practice -- Exploration, Conflict Transformation, Decision-Making, and Collaborative Action. It introduces the purpose for using each stream and lists some of the dialogue and deliberation methods that have proven themselves to be effective in each stream. This is useful to include in PowerPoint presentations. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a PDF version of this image.
Here are a few ways people are using the framework:“The Engagement Streams Framework is a critical tool for us at the CPD as we initially evaluate potential projects for deliberative ripeness, and then again when we get down to process design. It succinctly introduces and organizes the diverse world of D&D in a very practical way. It’s simple enough for beginners to not get overwhelmed, but rich enough for more experienced practitioners to return to again and again.”
-Martín Carcasson, Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation
“I’ve found NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework to be a very valuable tool when conducting workshops with local government staff and officials on how to improve public engagement practices. It not only helps give the big picture of what methods make sense to use when, but provides enough detail so that people can begin thinking about how they could apply these methods in their local engagement efforts.”
-Diane Miller, Civic Collaboration
“I love the Engagement Streams as a jumping off point to understanding what features you need in a deliberative process. It’s one of the best breakdowns I’ve seen for explaining the progression of complexity in implementation of the deliberative process. I trust NCDD, which is regularly looking at ALL the methods in play, to do a sound analysis as opposed to people who might be seated in a particular practice or approach. This kind of logical analysis from the community itself is invaluable for technologists to build applications that effectively support dialogue and deliberation.”
- Ele Munjeli, Web Developer
“When I was working on my report on the civic engagement landscape in Chicago, I had no idea how to organize the thousands of diverse pieces of information I’d collected into a coherent narrative. As I thought through options, the information naturally seemed to cluster into four areas, strikingly reminiscent of the four NCDD Engagement Streams. At first, I hesitated using that framework, designed to categorize methods, to segment a city’s organizations and projects. Surprisingly though, it has proven the single most valuable tool in helping Chicagoans understand the local D&D field.”
- Janice Thomson, Stakeholder Engagement Consultant
“I use the framework in both leadership training and traditional teaching environments. I found it very helpful for adults taking leadership courses who often had little experience with dialogue, as the framework helped them “get it” and differentiates dialogue from other processes. It also quickly gave them several models of dialogue, so they understood that there are many ways to approach it. With professors and students who are engaged in “Difficult Dialogues” classes at UT Austin, focusing on challenging topics such as immigration, science and religion, and HIV, the framework helps them understand what I mean when I say “Dialogue is NOT your usual classroom discussion” and gives them a useful context for learning how to talk about these controversial topics in a meaningful and productive way.”
- Juli Fellows, Organizational Consultant and Trainer
“We built the Streams of Engagement framework into our online Issue Guide Exchange. When someone uploads a guide to the tool we give them the option of identifying which streams of practice the guide addresses. Then, when someone is searching for guides, the streams of practice provide them with another way to figure out which guides will best meet their needs.”
- Carrie Boron, Everyday Democracy
“I just discovered the framework and am using it in a group facilitation workshop I’m teaching to AmeriCorps interns. My intent is to get them to think about what type of facilitation they are attempting and what outcomes they are looking for, and then look at what methods make the most sense, given the desired outcomes.”
- Marty Jacobs, Systems In Sync
“I’ve used the engagement streams cartoon mostly, since it’s a great tool for introducing people to the ideas of different uses for the methods. I’ve used it and prepared it for Carolyn [Lukensmeyer] to use at presentations for United Way leadership, state elected officials, and college classrooms.”
- Susanna Haas Lyons, formerly of AmericaSpeaks
Web Version: www.ncdd.org/files/rc/2014_Engagement_Streams_Guide_Web.pdf (373KB)
Print Version: www.ncdd.org/files/rc/2014_Engagement_Streams_Guide_Print.pdf (3.5 MB)
We also recommend you download NCDD's Resource Guide on Public Engagement at www.ncdd.org/files/NCDD2010_Resource_Guide.pdf, which features the engagement streams in full.
Song Of A Citizen produced several series of dialogue and deliberation-related videos. The first was a series of Video Op-Eds with esteemed political philosophers, academics, and leaders of major deliberative democracy organizations. Those were filmed at various locations around the country between 2008 to 2010.
The second series features Q&A interviews with key practitioners and other experts in the dialogue and deliberation community, filmed at the NCDD Conference in October 2012. All can be found on the SoaC YouTube Channel.
Song of a Citizen YouTube channel:
This short thread is an archive of a discussion on the NCDD forum started on July 9, 2004 by Matt Leighninger.
Describing D&D: what can make our message compelling?
Post by mattleighninger » Fri Jul 09, 2004 10:55 am
I don’t think the advocates of dialogue and deliberation at the national level have done a very good job promoting this kind of work. Most of the messages we send seem to say that D & D is worth doing because it is a Good Idea that will make the world a Better Place. That isn’t a very compelling message – not just because some people disagree, but because it doesn’t give the people who do agree an immediate reason to start doing D & D. There are all kinds of ways to make the world a Better Place, but how many of them does a person have time for, given the demands of work and family?
This is an archive of a 2004 discussion on the NCDD Discussion list. This discussion on Polarization & D&D starts with Lars Hasselblad Torres’ response on July 26, 2004 to an introduction by new NCDD member David Hilditch, who wrote “I share with many of you a growing concern about the long term corrosive effects of polarization.”
Lars Hasselblad Torres:David hi :: Great to have you on this list. This “two Americas” debate that is being raised in the news these days (drawing a lot on Stanley Greenberg’s work I think) is likely to be just as live an issue after the election.
Here is the transcript of a rich conversation we had on NCDD’s Discussion list in February 2010 with the subject “Conservatives and Liberals,” initiated by Pete Peterson. A big thank-you to Martin Carcasson for keeping track of these posts and sharing his archive!
For those who may be interested in how Conservatives see the world and public engagement, I’m linking here two recent essays. Some might remember the “Conservatives Panel” at the NCDD Conference in Austin. During the discussion, I was asked why there are so few right-wingers in the field of dialogue and deliberation. I remember fumbling out an answer that Conservatives tended to hold to certain principles or “truths”, and thus viewed the D&D field as inherently progressive – that “public engagement” efforts often ran past a discussion of “ends”, focusing on a dialogue over means.
Well, I wish that Harvey Mansfield had written this piece two years ago…he’s so much smarter: http://weeklystandard.com/articles/what-obama-isnt-saying