Dialogue: the art of having good conversations

Communication has always been - and still is - an important part of the exchange between two people. However, not every conversation is a real dialogue. What characterizes a good conversation and which prerequisites are necessary for this? The American linguists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson describe a real dialogue, that is an exchange between two people: "Imagine a culture in which arguments are seen as dance and participants as dancers and the goal is to be balanced to dance in an aesthetically pleasing way. " Nietzsche had already recognized this: "The truth begins only with two."

Monologue versus dialogue

Only when we weave conversations, only then do we enter the realm of knowledge. Only then do we create a shared reality. Genuine, understanding-oriented communication is thus first and foremost a question of inner attitude. This inner attitude can be better grasped when we look at the word pair "monologue - dialogue". Monologue means soliloquy, dialogue means conversation, better yet: dialogue.

Nobody knows the whole truth

The inner, dialogical attitude means: Understanding the view of the other better through attentive listening. Max Frisch says: "Any attempt to communicate can only succeed with the benevolence of others." Understanding is a cognitive-theoretical problem, but above all it is an emotional-psychological problem that has a lot to do with understanding. A truly dialogical attitude also assumes that the individual can only ever perceive a section of reality.

It means acknowledging the fundamental differences between two people in the perception and evaluation of the "real" and making them the starting point of the conversation. Out of this attitude, the other's contribution to the conversation becomes an opportunity - even though, or perhaps because he disagrees with one's own view of things - an enrichment.

Tips for dialogue in dialogue

  • In the other, so to speak, "be a guest" and be enriched by him consciously.
  • Let the others know that he can present his perspectives, that he is heard, that he is not contradicted.
  • Ask more questions than answers have.
  • Openness for alternative courses of action. Maybe there is another possibility besides the alternative A and B C.
  • Do not try to convince others that only you are right.

The goal of a dialogue

There is no doubt that looking for ways to solve conflicts and problems creatively, a one-sided position is a big stumbling block. Most people want security and truth. But what we need is consensus in dissent. But when can one be sure that the conversation was a real dialogue? If you come out of the conversation differently than you went in. That's what dialogue is all about: everyone wins and is enriched.

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