All dialogues are different. As a participant in dialogue, you may engage in facilitated discussion, self-reflection, small group discussions, and activities. Typically, a dialogue consists of about 15 people with 2 facilitators. The facilitators will have a plan for the flow of dialogue, but ultimately it is up to the participants on where it goes.
You should expect dialogue to be uncomfortable. Dialogue bridges the gap of understanding by allowing for space where people bravely confront uncomfortable conversations with vulnerability, trust, and openness. By allowing people to voluntarily enter a situation where they know they will be sharing opinions that will be challenged, and listening to others' opinions and struggles, dialogue helps us understand each other in a deeper way. Engaging in dialogue is not easy and it can be difficult building trust in a room full of potential strangers or over virtual platforms.
The purpose of dialogue is to uphold each person's dignity, challenge each other's perspectives, and be respectful of each other's voice. The beginning of each dialogue will start with norms and community building to ensure that we are all on the same page. Facilitators guide the dialogue and help the group uphold the norms.
To learn more about what makes dialogue different than other communication methods, please click on Debate, Discussion, & Dialogue Handout (2008) (PDF).