In 2003 in Guatemala Olga became aware of the power of dialogue. An ancient, connecting form of conversation with great value in current society. By slowing down and exchanging experiences in a free space around a question, one can disclose wisdom. Wisdom that is greater than the individual input of each participant.
Since 2004 Olga has spread dialogue in The Netherlands through the movements The Netherlands in Dialogue, World=U and by applying dialogue in her strategic consultancy work. Her enduring exploration keep leading to discovering new forms. For example, in March 2012 she travelled to the Palestinian Territories to practice the RRCA approach, in June 2014 to Iceland to study the Althing (dialogue and decision-making process), in 2015 to Ireland to learn from the use of dialogue in polarized conflicts (DPC approach).
Within her company Leerweg Dialoog(translated: Pathway to Dialogue) she and her colleagues share the experience and insights gained in 15 years. Together they formulated basic principles that they believe lie beneath all approaches to dialogue and are expressed in specific forms.
A joint inquiry of the basic principles and which attitude they require forms the basis of every training Leerweg Dialoog offers. For example, postponing judgments in order to make room again for uninhibited observation of yourself, the other and the phenomenon you are investigating is a very essential practice. Every day anew!
In 2019 the Academy of Professional Dialogue invited Olga to write an article about her 15 years of experience with dialogue in the Dutch society with the foundation The Netherlands in Dialogue.
Article about the basic principles of dialogue
Article about The Netherland in Dialogue
Renate van Der Veen
A Dutch woman living in Germany and working in the Netherlands. After studying law, I worked for the city of Amsterdam for 18 years. Then I finally had the courage to start my own company. I work as a coach to highly gifted adults and train people, organisations, teams, companies in the use of Dialogue. Dialogue is: Jointly examining a question by listening attentively, sharing experiences, and reflecting on the insights. It is quite different from the way we are used to communicate with each other: convincing the other, getting your message across.
I love my work and feel that it contributes to better understanding, co-operation and living together.
In my work the practise of attentive listening is very important. And always when people listen on a next level (more empathic) and dare to suspend their judgements, they experience the richness of diversity in their teams or groups. They hear new perspectives, new solutions, new voices and feel more connected to each other afterwards. The more diverse a team is, the greater the gift of connecting and seeing the natural talents of the other. I really think this will help us to find solutions for the challenges we are facing these days (climate, gap between rich-poor, future of democracy). It might not be that complicated after all and that motivates me to introduce dialogue wherever I can!
The hard part though is that we need to dare to slow down in order to connect and listen and become aware of the possibilities of diversity. Voluntarily slowing down in an accelerating world is challenging!
The past years I have been organizing dialogue evenings with groups on all kinds of topics. What strikes me most is how easily people feel save if listening is more important than talking and if we take the time to really listen to what needs to be said. Personally, I feel that sharing my personal experiences without being interrupted also has some kind of healing quality.