Venue and practical matters
The venue plays an important role in the creation of mutual trust and equality. Arrival at the venue should feel easy and safe, which is why you should choose a venue that is politically and ideologically neutral.
In a dialogue, the participants often sit in a ring without tables. The discussion is easier when the table is not on the way hiding information and it is possible to see all of the other participants.
Compile a list of a few good venues
With each option, think about the following:
- What does the venue symbolise? Has the venue been labelled by a specific use and what does it mean to the participants?
- Is the venue peaceful and undisturbed?
- Is it possible to move the tables out of the way and arrange the chairs in a circle? A small change in traditional seating arrangements will significantly affect the quality of the dialogue.
- Is there enough room? Is there a chair for everyone?
- How many participants do you want and expect to attend? Can the group of participants be divided into small groups? The ideal size of small groups for a dialogue is ten people, but a discussion will succeed even with a larger number of people.
- Is it easy for people to hear each other? Does the space echo or is there noise in the background?
- What will you do to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in the venue? Can you offer a cup of coffee and perhaps have some music in the background?
- How will people get to know each other? Knowing the other person’s name makes the dialogue easier – providing name badges may be a good idea!