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Dynamic Dialogue - Y2K Roles

by Nancy Margulies 2/5/99

Dynamic dialogue was developed by Tom Daly & Mitch Saunders. The process can be modified to use with your local Y2K community group or work place.

Dynamic Dialogue enables groups to explore the range of emotional responses that are possible in response to an issue such as Y2K. Seated around 6-8 empty chairs, the group is invited to explore each response or position by enacting it. Individuals take roles representing these differing options which may be expressed very personally or as gross stereotypes. When the position becomes clear, a name is given such as "denial" or " survivalist" - "fear" or "others will fix it". Communication can take various styles: one person talking at a time, many people talking at once, emotional, sitting back in silence. The divergent perspectives displayed and articulated do not have to be the beliefs of those enacting them. The goal at this stage is to name and express each possible position.

The names are written and taped to the chairs.

Noticing what happens when parts or roles are at odds may be the next step.

At this point the center circle of chairs are left empty, each labeled with a label written on paper still taped to it. Participants can then consider which "chairs" they currently occupy and then move into those chairs to express their own feelings. People usually discover a range of feelings they can identify.

From this point a discussion among all participants or in small groups can focus on what possibilities they can identify or any other question that leads to next steps.

This kind of shared, active inquiry tends to result in participants recognizing a sense of community feeling or momentary completion, a new awareness, or ideas for a next step. Further conversation, in a less experiential mode, often follows, leading to deeper levels of engagement and exploration.

Dynamic Dialogue helps us step into the paradoxes that we all live, and claim the powers of both sides. It makes the positions clearer and helps a group move into a discussion in which they don't polarize on issues or hide feelings, but move ahead to share possibilities and develop next steps.