In contrast, the Dialogue Process uses a clear speaker and a clear listener. It is useful to deepen connection and intimacy. It enables each person to be fully heard, fostering greater connection to each other, as well as deeper self-connection. It is especially useful for communications including emotional content. A Talking Stick is used to help maintain the clear separation between Speaker and Listener.
In Dialogue, there is an emphasis on completing each communication – i. e., making sure that each communication is heard accurately.
To assist in making sure that each communication is heard accurately, Dialogue has developed some simple phrases that need to be practiced repeatedly until they are automatic. For the Speaker, at the end of each communication, s/he says, “Would you be willing to tell me what you heard me say?”
For the listener, there are three essential phrases. First, the Listener begins each response with “I heard you....” (e. g., “say ...”, “are thinking...”, “are feeling...”). When the Listener is complete with his/her reflection, the Listener asks, “Did I get that right?”
"If the Speaker does not feel heard, or only part of his/her communication was accurately reflected, the Speaker might reply with "You got part of it right, thank you, the rest of it is....... Would you be willing to tell me what you heard me say?"
When the Speaker acknowledges that s/he feels accurately heard, the Listener then prompts the Speaker to continue by asking, “Is there more?”
When the Speaker feels heard and is ready to listen, the Speaker says, “Now that I feel heard, I'm curious what's up for you.” The previous Listener then becomes the new Speaker, and the previous Speaker becomes the new Listener.
To develop good habits of listening and speaking in Dialogue, it is useful to use these phrases even if they feel stilted at first. After these habits are well developed in both partners in the Dialogue, these phrases can be relaxed and used only when needed.
Edited by Zoe Alexander, August 20, 2012