William Isaacs book Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together is continually inspiring reading. It equates very well with the practices that we are teaching fo Open Space facilitation and it is a useful guide for other forms of process facilitation. In the book, Isaacs describes four fields of conversation, essentially politeness, breakdown, inquiry and flow. Within each of these four fields of dialogue, there are a number of practices to cultivate and things to do as the nature of the dialogue keeps changing. In a short chapter but important on convening dialogue, Isaacs outlines a guide for leadership in each of these four areas. I have been using this guide more and more frequently and, in addition to Isaacs’ work, I have been collecting questions and language approaches to help move deeper into these dialogic spaces. What follows is a brief overview of the four fields, Isaacs guide to navigating the fields and the questions with which I have been working.
The whole paper is yours to read. I’d appreciate any comments.