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Dialogue Design (2)

Dialogue Design (2)

How important is the dialogue design in the outcome of a complex mediation?



Full Transcript

I think the reason why, compare with say doing a two or three party mediation, it is more complicated, simply cause you got many more people, many more points of view and very often quite a constrained time frame. You have to use the time as effectively as you can to get to wherever you’re going to.


Process design is absolutely crucial. But one of the great ironies of it is that normally I’m going through a meeting of that sort whether it’s for a day or three days. You probably go through about a dozen drafts of this process and then you discover about 20 minutes in that you made a complete holex and you’ve got completely the wrong point of view. But at least having done your dozen drafts, you’ve already thought about how else you might be able to do it. So if you have to switch track very quickly then at least you have kind of thought about it very thoroughly.


There is nothing worse than trying to have a wrong approach which everybody in the room is saying, “No. This is not working.” And also you have to remember all the time, of course that it is your participants’ meeting. You are just there to help them and if they really don’t want to do what you’ve spent hours designing then you have to change track. And you have to respect that all the way through.

About the mediator

Andrew Acland Profile Pic

Andrew Acland specialises in designing and facilitating stakeholder dialogue and consultation processes in complex, multi-party, multi-issue contexts, often with environmental and social sustainability dimensions. Andrew began his working life as a political analyst specialising in East-West relations and arms control. In 1985, while working on the staff of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, he acted as assistant to the Archbishop’s envoy, T... View Mediator