Below are Community Dialogue’s Ground rules and Guidelines to the Dialogue process. These principles are intended to help us all communicate safely and effectively, ensuring we both feel heard and hear others.  

Our Ground rules not only underline the Dialogue practice, but can enhance our interactions in day to day life, whether at home, in the workplace or elsewhere.  

Ground rules

  1. Treat what you hear in confidence.
  2. Others have the right to believe and feel differently from you.
  3. Others have the right to express their beliefs.
  4. You do not have to respect beliefs that are wrong to you.
  5. Treat others with the respect you expect yourself.
  6. When others share do not interrupt, show respect and wait until they finish.
  7. Do not represent the views of a wider group, share your own views.
  8. Do not pressurise anyone into speaking.
  9. All participants’ views and ideas have value.


  • Dialogue is a two-way process; it involves balancing deep listening and open honest sharing.
  • Everyone is encouraged to speak.
  • Risk trusting other people with your feelings and experience.
  • Share what feels comfortable for you – don’t go beyond that.
  • You do not need a clear position or to be an expert; it is okay to be confused or to change your mind.
  • People who listen more than they speak often have more of value to share.
  • Try to be present for the full process as absence can have a negative impact.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, you may need to take time out, but let the facilitator know.
  • Take care to listen well.
  • Feel free to ask if you don’t understand.
  • Dialogue is not about agreement it is about deepening understanding.
  • Question what you hear and what you think.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Help and support each other throughout the process.
  • The facilitator is there to support you.