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"To Do List" for Getting Started

?• Read the Organize a Dialogue section of this website, and utilize one or more of the great resources listed in the Resources & Perspectives section.

?• Find others in your community or organization who are interested in helping you, meet with them and determine how the dialogue will be publicized, how many people you want to involve, when the dialogue should be held, etc.

?• Find 1 or 2 trained or experienced dialogue facilitators for each dialogue group you expect to have, or provide an appropriate person who is interested with dialogue facilitator training.

?• Decide whether you will organize a multi-session dialogue, a one-time dialogue (preferably giving participants the option to commit to three or so more sessions) or an all-day forum.

?• Work with the facilitators to decide what the dialogue format will be. Will you want an activity to get participants comfortable with each other at the beginning? Will you want to play part of a video, to give them something to easily talk about? What questions will the facilitator ask? Will you give them background materials or information about the topic? Will you ask the participants to discuss ideas for community action?

?• Consider location and amenities. Is the place private and free from distractions? Is it accessible to everyone who?’s coming? Do you want to provide refreshments or a light meal beforehand? Is there enough space if more people come than expected? Are people famililar with the location, or will they need detailed directions?

?• Publicize or announce the dialogue, being careful to not exclude or discourage certain groups ("How has our community been effected by Sept. 11 and its aftermath?" vs. "A Dialogue about Protecting Our Civil Liberties").

?• Prepare your dialogue participants for the experience by explaining what a dialogue is to them, asking them to read a couple of articles, or let them know what kinds of questions will be asked.

?• Consider having your participants fill out a survey (both before and after the dialogue) that will help you determine the impact of the dialogue. The survey, developed by Walter G. Stephan, Ph.D., of New Mexico State University is available at www.westernjustice.org/stephan_survey.htm.

?• Engage in dialogue!

?• Reflect about and evaluate the experience.

?• Consider providing post-dialogue training in social change methods, conflict resolution, or another area participants are interested in pursuing.

The Dialogue to Action Initiative and www.Thataway.org are ?2001 by Sandy Heierbacher and Andy Fluke. ?
Last updated Thursday, December 27, 2001 12:54 AM ?
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