We do talk a lot. About Black Piet, the transition to a sustainable world, a new class schedule, a voluntary end of life, refugees, ethnic, cultural and sexual harassment and discrimination. Lots of opinions, lots of one-way traffic, but we don’t really have good discussions. Certainly not with people holding different views.
According to prof.dr. Noëlle Aarts, the communication expert of 2016 and 2017, the dialogue as discussion technique offers a solution.
In order to prevent, investigate or solve problems, to realize innovation or to convince others of their own opinions, people are constantly having discussions. Sometimes we even think a normal discussion isn’t enough. For example, when problems become too complicated. That’s when we need a dialogue.
At the TU/e there’s also a lot of talk: in general assemblies of associations and in meetings of departments and boards. Under the heading Dialogue sessions, the Executive Board has been organizing information and participation meetings since June 2017 [https://www.cursor.tue.nl/nieuws/2017/juni/vooruitblikken-naar-de-tue-in-2030/] which aim to develop the TU/e policy strategy for the next twelve years. Also known as
TU/expedition 2030. In cooperation with the organizations Eindhoven in dialoog (Eindhoven in dialogue) and TINT we have for some years organized the dialogue night TU/e in dialoog (TU/e in dialogue) at our university: using the dialogue technique to discuss a specific theme.
The real dialogue
But what exactly is a dialogue? It isn’t the same as a discussion or a debate, but when does a conversation deserve to be called a dialogue? And why do we find it so difficult to conduct a dialogue with people with ‘different views’? Prof.dr. Noëlle Aarts will answer these questions and discuss a guideline for a true dialogue.
Prof.dr. Noëlle Aarts is professor Socio-Ecological Interactions at the Institute for Science in Society (ISiS) at the Radboud University Nijmegen. She does research on strategic communication, with emphasis on the meaning of conversations and stories in processes of change and innovation. She specializes in the analysis of conversations between people having different views. She publishes among other things on communication in relation to innovation and change, conflict and negotiation, strategies people use while interacting to create credibility, dealing with dilemmas, ambiguity and ambivalence, and on the art of conducting an effective dialogue about complex and controversial topics.
In 2015 Noëlle Aarts was proclaimed Lecturer of the Year at Wageningen University, where she worked until 2017. In 2016 and 2017 she was designated most inspiring person for the professional practice of communication professionals in the Netherlands, based on a ranking by 250 experts.