ELS-67500 Dialogue skills


Credits 1.50

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)ir. M Wink
Lecturer(s)ir. M Wink
LRG (Lara) Minnaard (MSc)
Examiner(s)ir. M Wink

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Basic communication skills

Continuation courses:

Diverse skills courses might be nice in combination with this course because they enhance a specific aspect also viable in holding a dialogue. To name the most important: ELS-66400 Leadership for Transformation; ELS-51403 or ELS-65800 Intuitive Intelligence, ELS-65500 Argumentation skills, ELS-65300 Negotiation skills, ELS-66800 Personal leadership and effectiveness.


“It's a sad fact that while most of us spend a sizeable part of our lives communicating with others - in face-to-face conversations, over the phone, in committee meetings, via e-mail and social networks - we seem more separate and disconnected than ever” - Scott London
We live in an age of uncertainty. When training our dialogue skills, we are training the skill to be engaged in meaningful conversations without a predictable outcome. It is communicating across differences. This is useful in e.g. group work, peer review, thesis rings, talks with our supervisors, talks with societal stakeholders, commissioners etc. A dialogue enhances our ability to make informed decisions.
At its simplest, dialogue is a conversation between one or more persons who freely exchange thoughts and ideas. Most important ingredient of a dialogue is truly listening with the intention to understand yourself and others. A dialogue is about being curious and responsible for the impact of what we say and how we say it. It can lead to new individual or collective insights and innovations. The process may lead to trust, respect and the building of a shared future in which we have a sense of ‘belonging’ or it truly clarifies our disagreement and the need to follow separate paths to separate futures.
We often speak of engaging in a dialogue, the question is if we truly hold the spirit of a dialogical conversation. In this module we work on cultivating awareness about how we take in sensory information and how our body, frames of thinking, emotions, and energy respond to other ideas, perspectives and actions. We might notice our tendency to advocate our own opinions: in being more aware we may be able to hold even our most fervent opinions more lightly, making room in our hearts and minds for difference and for contrasting or conflicting perspectives. In a dialogue a lot of space is created for inquiry. For most scientists/students it is quite a challenge to do this, setting aside the demands of performance and efficiency; to create time and space for mindful conversations where we can learn to understand and co-create new perspectives.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the difference between a diversity of conversation patterns;
- practise speaking habits that demonstrate a dialogical spirit;
- analyse what type of speaking patterns, knowledge, value frames and emotions are present in his/her own communication;
- choose what possible interventions might be valuable to enhance constructive communication;
- design a conversation plan with a dialogical spirit.


Lectures, engaging in diverse forms of dialogue and practise (both online and offline) a diversity dialogical skills, reading background literature and preparing assignments.


Active participation in class (GO/NO GO).
Individual paper: submitted after group assignment 'Our essential background understanding' (50%); half of this mark is determined by the group presentation.
Individual paper: 'My conversation patterns and plan' (50%); half of this grade is determined through peer feedback.
Both papers need a minimum mark of 5.5. Participation to all classes is a prerequisite


From a diversity of sources you will get access to online information. Some important authors in the field:
- 'On dialogue' David Bohm;
- 'Dialogue and the art of thinking together' William Isaacs;
- 'Pause for breath' Amanda Ridings;
- 'The art of dialogue' Noelle Aarts.
And more.