Dialogue is not Debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

Debate implies conclusion. Dialogue remains open-ended.

 

 

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