Dialogue Is More Than Conversation with William Isaacs, Ph.D.

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So often, when we try to truly talk with someone, we walk away from the conversation unsatisfied. Dialogue, the art of thinking together, helps eliminate those anticipated scripts we use, and invites a spirit of inquiry and improvisation into your communication. Perhaps even more important, it provides a setting to develop your emotional intelligence--the ability to listen openly to points of view that contradict your own without reacting defensively. William Isaacs says, that to do this "requires a container, a vessel in which all the intensities can be held. You know you’ve reached a dialogue when people can express what they think and no one tries to change anyone else." By observing the processes behind our thoughts, we gain the power to transform them. (hosted by Michael Toms) 


William Isaacs, Ph.D. is founder and president of Dialogos, a company designed to create integrated change in organizations, and past director of The Dialogue Project, a component of MIT’s "Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century" research initiative. He received a D.phil from Cambridge University. 

William Isaacs is the author of:

  • Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together (Currency 1999) 

To learn more about the work of William Isaacs go to www.dialogos.com

Topics explored in the dialogue include:

  • How you can improve communication in of your life
  • How dialogue alters your sense of time
  • How to deal with the intensity of emotion that arises in true dialogue
  • Motorola’s implementation of "Individual Dignity Entitlement"
  • The difference between dialogue and conversation
  • Famous philosophers who have helped shape modern dialogue
  • The difference between systems thinking and field-based all areas
  • thinking
  • The effect written language has had on storytelling


Host: Michael Toms   Interview Date: 2/27/1998  Program Number: 2699