Contrast to Debate

Deliberative Dialogue Is Not A Debate

In a debate, you search for glaring differences. Deliberation involves concern for others.
In debate, you search for weakness in another’s position. In deliberation, you search for strength in another’s position.
Debate involves countering the other’s position at the expense of the relationship. Deliberation assumes that many people have pieces of an answer to a workable solution.
Debate calls for investing wholeheartedly in your beliefs. In deliberation, you temporarily suspend your beliefs.
Debate is oppositional and seeks to prove the other wrong. Deliberation is collaborative and seeks common understanding.
The goal of debate is winning – often only for a short-term advantage. The goal of deliberation is common ground for action which is the basis for consistent policy.
In debate, you listen to find flaws and counterarguments. In deliberation, you listen to understand and find meaning in agreement.
Debate defends assumptions as truth. Deliberation reveals assumptions for re-evaluation.
Debate defends original solutions. Deliberation opens the possibility of better solutions.
In debate, you submit your best thinking and defend its rightness. In deliberation, you submit your best thinking in order to improve it.

 From materials provided by the National Issues Forum at Montgomery College, Gaithersburg Business Training Center, June 10-11, 2004