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Inclusive communities and conflictual dialogue

I haven't had a chance yet to respond to Hoggett's article "Overcoming the Desire for Misunderstanding through Dialogue." I was initially drawn to this article because of the title: the DESIRE for misunderstanding? Aren't we all running around trying to AVOID misunderstanding? And, I am intrigued by his argument that what some would call "dysfunctional" communication between members of a community or a work team (or what have you), is actually essential for functionality.

I find his argument very compelling based on a few experiences I have had in my own life. For one, living in an intentional community for three years after college really forces me to consider this concept seriously. Additionally, this resonates with my time working for Witness for Peace in Colombia and Nicaragua - both circumstances in which I was working and living with my workmates, and our office was in our shared house.

In both of those situations, the intentional community and shared living/working space with Witness for Peace, I found that the worst times were the times of less communication and the best, healthiest times we had together were when we were able to communicate about hard issues and then move beyond them. Each time of moving beyond really felt like a step, a building block to a healthier and stronger community.

That all said, I am still left with the question, where is the line? When do we stop learning from difficult dialogue and start just simply frustrating each other and hitting dead ends? There were times when I was working in Colombia when that difficult dialogue felt it might actually be just simply too hard and not productive - and that it in fact never produced growth, but rather negative stagnation. Some of this I think was related to the way that difficult dialogue was facilitated and some of it was because of a lack of good will among those engaged in the dialogue. However, I think Hoggett is on to something very insightful about group dynamics - and perhaps very useful in many work settings where so many people tend to really shy away from difficult dialogue.


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Thanks for your reflections on this important article. I appreciate the examples you share. I am struck by how you characterize some of the communication difficulty as being a lack of good will among those engaged in the dialogue. This is an area that makes me think that restoring an affective connection is needed before understanding can occur. I think the more usual idea is that if there is enough dialogue, eventually understanding will build the connection. I agree that most of us are easily exhausted by the process of endless dialogue and the negative dynamics. Challenging work.

That was insightful. Some people just easily give up in difficult dialogues. This is actually the times we must use our communication skill. Like being open-minded, listen to other people, and the likes.

Our communication skill is tested during this time, it is up to us if we try to make good use of it and improve it.

Effective communication is really important in every aspect of our lives. It is of great advantage if people has good interpersonal communication skill to avoid conflicts with each other especially in difficult dialogues.

Having interpersonal communication skill will help the flow of information be accurate and fast in any organizations or groups. Also, with interpersonal communication skill, a difficult dialogue might eventually be not that difficult.

It is really healthy if a team communicate effectively. You can discuss issues within the team or even outside issues. With the members' conversation skills, they can clear things, fix conflicts, and progress to their goals.

Conversation skills help a team to communicate effectively. It is important during discussions that everyone is heard and everyone also listens.

Staying positive and motivated will help you face those difficult times especially when in a team. It may be discouraging to hear those difficulties. But if you get positive and motivated, there's nothing that could stop you from succeeding.

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