Designing a process for social change should aim to achieve three goals:

1.      Preventing destructive communication:  Preventive processes are actions that minimize the possibility of destructive communication.  Fully informed and voluntary participation in a communication process is helpful.  Preventive approaches are used during communication and planning sessions, as well as before them. Agreement to participate is based on an understanding of the nature of the event, the kind of ground rules or guidelines that will be proposed, and a willingness to participate.

2.      Encouraging constructive communication:  Once the discussion is underway, several processes help to promote good dialogue.  Facilitators help the group design and guide its own process.  They enforce the ground rules to maintain a safe, respectful environment.  They intervene as necessary to make sure that everyone has a chance to say what they want to say, to keep the group on track, and to sort out possible misunderstandings.  They ask questions that create openings for new kinds of interaction.

3.      Building collaboration:  Good communication always includes a collaborative element.  Participants are viewed as collaborators in a joint effort to create a constructive conversation.  In addition, they provide feedback that can guide future improvement.

Strategic Engagement can help design processes for sustainable change!

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