Since the advent of communication technologies, the art of talking has been declining. The developing world has a lot to teach western society regarding the importance of actual conversation in dealing with challenges and creating solutions. As human beings have an inherent desire to solve their own problems, it is little surprise that imported, formulaic responses meet resistance and often fail. Conversing on an equal level is therefore imperative to the success of any development intervention.
Increasing recognition of these problems has led to the emergence of a number of methods for facilitating dialogue. This collection profiles 10 such methods in depth and a number of others more briefly. Some are designed for small groups of 20 people, some can accommodate up to 5000 in dialogue at the same time. Some focus on exploring and resolving conflict and differences, while others emphasise looking first to what is working and agreed upon.
The manual is divided into three sections:
Foundations: defining "dialogue" and outlining some generic foundations for a good dialogue process
Toolkit: each of the methods are explained and contain an overview, a review of applications, a case example and the authors' subjective commentary
Method choice: different purposes a dialogue may have and related contextual factors, with pointers to which tools are most suited to different aims and situations.