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The dialogue methodology goes through the following stages:

Each dialogue is planned over a whole day, sometimes two days if the budget permits. This duration is valuable since it gives the participants time to get to know each other, and to share personal thoughts and experiences, both in the formal meeting and, more importantly, in an atmosphere of informality outside the meeting.
Such a meeting of two day’s duration, produced trust between participants, created an atmosphere of easy exchange and thereby reduced the psychological burden that intervention normally carries in formal settings (a view regularly expressed by those who have little experience of seminars). Such informality was empowering, since it encouraged participants to speak and thereby facilitated an understanding of each other’s concerns.
The invitees were from a cross section of interests, ideologies, social strata, and groups in society. This diversity ensured that no particular perspective dominated the discussion and also that participants got an opportunity to listen to, and to consider, in an enabling atmosphere, perspectives other than their own.
A special effort was made to get minority viewpoints to attend. Minority was here defined in terms of gender, ethnicity, class, caste, and community. This insistence was to ensure that minority viewpoints are heard, and placed on the discourse agenda, since in the normal course of things they get little attention in the face of dominant discourses.
Particular attention was paid to selecting the chair for each discussion session. Such a chair was requested not to dominate the discussion, not to make an opening statement that others would then feel compelled to respond to but to only function as a facilitator. S/he was requested to encourage minority voices, draw out emerging concerns that required more discussion, identify the possible areas of contestation, and invite comments on issues not raised.
The dialogue was deliberately loosely (or minimally) structured. Other than deciding on the themes for each session, and choosing the chairs, who regulated the flow of the discussion, the dialogue encouraged informality so that the unlettered felt encouraged to speak.
The dialogue was clearly regarded not as a seminar, a conference, or even a workshop and hence did not carry the burden of formal discussion procedures. No complete presentations were required. No well worked positions were demanded. One merely sought reactions to ideas as they emerged. The assumption here was that these reactions are articulations of positions that have, over the span of the participant’s political life, been thought through and so receiving them in the context of a dialogue gives one a glimpse of, and therefore possible access to, the larger body of arguments. The intervention was seen as only the tip of the iceberg.
The dialogue was recorded to create an oral archive and also to be later available for report writing.
The dialogue report was prepared as per the following format: (i) a brief introductory note on the theme of the dialogue, (ii) the views of each speaker were summarized and presented sequentially in the order in which they had intervened, (iii) speakers organizational address were given to connect their positions with the interests they represent, and (iv) a summary statement, at the end of the report, of the main themes and concerns that had emerged.

 
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