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What Happens BEFORE the Process?

Most of us, one way or another, are experts in the process of dialogue. But what happens before the process begins? Is there anything we can do to prepare ourselves for dialogue?

That’s the subject of a new book by NCDD Board member John Backman. Why Can’t We Talk? Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart explores a selection of spiritual practices—as well as fundamental mindshifts and “practical” steps—that can reorient our deepest selves toward dialogue. In becoming dialogic people, the book asserts, we become empowered to better leverage dialogic processes by approaching them from a place of curiosity, openness, and compassion.

Though the word Christian appears in the subtitle, this book speaks to anyone seeking resources for approaching others with a clear mind and an open heart. In terms of mindset, John touts the value of I don’t know, and yet…, and both/and as frameworks for engaging in any discussion. On the practical side, he suggests the importance of a “balanced media diet” and travel to confront us with the validity of other people’s perspectives—and the necessity of listening to them in order to get closer to the truth of any situation.

Why Can’t We Talk? can be found on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Why-Cant-We-Talk-Christian/dp/1594734437.

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This post was submitted by a member of the NCDD community. NCDD members are leaders and future leaders in the fields of public engagement, conflict resolution, and community problem solving. You, too, can post to the NCDD blog by completing the Add-to-Blog form at www.ncdd.org/submit.

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