Dialogue Facilitation

Laura Chasin

Director of the Public Conversations Project, Watertown, Massachusetts

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

Another thing that's probably interesting to people is that there's no one who doesn't have views about abortion, including the 2 facilitators. Both of us made it known, in retrospect I think we actually raised it with the pro-choice people, but with the pro-life people we completely self-disclosed about our prior involvement in the issue. I actually forgot one important thing in my first round of that, and in fear and trembling, remembered there was this one involvement I had forgotten to mention. I went back, afraid it was really going to blow it, but in fact it deepened their trust in a way. So there was full disclosure, and as in all our facilitation, we don't claim to be neutral. We've never claimed to use that kind of language at all. We claim to be able to facilitate a fair and balanced kind of conversation. And because of us continuing to ask for feedback and because of the collaborative way we did things, we had relationships with each of the participants, very deep relationships and very trusting relationships, before we got in the room, and that's true in all our work.