Through examining the relevant academic literature, learning about the work of deliberation practitioners, and discussing the experiences of our community, the DCI has identified the dispositions described below as critical to the success of deliberative enterprises. When participants adopt these dispositions, they are much more likely to feel their deliberations are meaningful, respectful, and productive.
Make the robust involvement of each participant possible.
With a curious spirit, try fully to understand deliberators’s stories, arguments, and other remarks in their richness and variety.
Treat remarks made by others with openness and compassion, and approach disagreements with generosity and good will.
Assume the best—and not the worst—about the values, intentions, and meanings of one’s fellow deliberators. Avoid hasty judgments.
Patiently and with full attention, make listening as active as one’s speaking.
Expect to qualify, amend, or change one’s position in light of good reasons. Anticipate fresh ideas, new beginnings, novel approaches.
When possible, use evidence (experiential, factual, emotional, descriptive) to support positions and elucidate generalizations.
When possible, notice patterns and commonalities among deliberators’s stories, arguments, and other remarks. Identify transcendent perspectives, values, and commitments.
When possible, recognize opportunities to generate creative resolutions to disagreements and move from intentional deliberation to collective action.