To increase understanding on why DIALOGUE skills are important and to practice these skills.


This exercise allows participants to deepen their dialogue skills through role playing.


To begin the session on dialogue, a facilitator shares about the dialogue skills:

  • Discovery mode: Participants shows understanding and willingness to be changed.
  • Sharing Truth: Participants shares truth of personal experience using 'I' statements.
  • Active Listening: Participants give full attention to content, meaning, and feelings.
  • Surfacing Assumptions: Participants uncover beliefs that underlie opinions and 'facts'.
  • Suspending Judgments: Participants put judgments aside to actively listen.
  • Attending to the 'whole': Participants notice themes, patterns and implications.

An aspect of this is asking probing questions to get a deeper sense of what the other person is saying.

Part 1: Demonstrating Dialogue Skills Role Play

To practice dialogue skills, participants break into pairs:
  • One person shares an interest that they have while their partner acts like they are not listening. The partners switch roles.
  • Following this, participants share how they feel from this experience.
  • During the second round, each member of the pair takes turns sharing the same story while the other person listens actively.
  • The facilitator asks how it feels to hear these stories.
The facilitator explains that part of this work is to learn more about the people with whom we interact. The facilitator presents the Ice-berg diagram and explains how dialogue skills are an effective toolkit for surfacing what is below the iceberg and for exploring power relations.

Part 2: Practicing Dialogue Skills

To bring together dialogue skills and the power/privilege session, ask partners to divide into groups of three people, with roles A, B and C.
  • Person A will be the Teller: Their job will be to tell the seeker a real story about when they found themselves power-down. They will describe the situation and what it felt like.
  • Person B will be the Seeker: Their job will be to listen carefully, put judgments aside, keep the focus on the teller, avoid interruptions, and ask expansive questions.
  • Person C will be the Observer: Their job will be to just observe the interaction between the seeker and teller. The observer notices the following:

o How well is the seeker suspending judgment, putting his/her own stories and reactions aside?
o Asking open-ended questions of curiosity?
o Considering the teller as giving a gift and offering a precious treasure?
o Whether the seeker or teller is planning what s/he will say next, or interrupting the other.

When the groups have assigned roles, give the teller ten minutes to tell their story, with questions from the seeker throughout, followed by five minutes of feedback by the observer.
Each member will switch to new roles and follow the same pattern for three rounds, so that each team member exercises each role.
Following the exercise, the facilitator asks participants:
  • How did it feel to share one’s story? To seek? And to observe?
  • What learning came out of this exercise? And what are lessons to take with us into the Tipping
Point project?


Giving more time to this exercise could be useful, as it would allow participants to practice asking probing questions throughout the conversation and gain deeper understanding of one another's stories.


Source: CARE Gender, Equality and Diversity 101 Facilitator's Manual, Activity 10 and 202, Activity 4