Participant Interaction Modes
Towards Transformative Conferencing and Dialogue
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Part O of Towards Transformative Conferencing and Dialogue: Collection of papers and notes, problems and possibilities on the new frontier of high-risk gatherings concerning social development (1991).
Meetings as a whole, or groups of participants within a meeting, may give
preference to one or more modes of interaction possibly at different stages
of the meeting. This effectively determines the styles of the meeting and
may either attract or alienate certain participants.
1. Primarily verbal modes
2. Primarily non-verbal modes
Fact-oriented: The stress is on stating information (often quantitative)
considered to be factual, querying such facts, comparing them, and extrapolating
from them to domains about which fewer facts are known by those present.
Affect-oriented: The stress is on the expression of emotional opinion
concerning different experiences and facts. Participants may be emotionally
aroused by the repeated reinforcement of certain opinions.
Concept-oriented: In this mode, categories of fact and experience
are compared, criticized, re-ordered, possibly with only incidental reference
to the referents.
Doctrine-oriented: A set of beliefs shared by participants may give
rise to statements reaffirming and justifying them, as well as extending
their application to new domains. This includes interaction about legal
and procedural matters.
Value-oriented: Statements stressing the qualitative importance
of particular approaches to any of the above.
Action prescriptive: Here the stress is on what should be done,
usually in the light of any of the above.
Physical sharing: Feasting/drinking, dance, physical games, group
Emotional sharing: Drama, song, music, group empathy exercises.
Intellectual sharing: Conceptual "resonance" of participants ("on
the same wavelength"), usually stimulated by occasional words; drama, music.
Status affirming: Actions which reinforce the importance of a participant
and of those who articulate the beliefs or doctrines he shares.
Communal celebration: Partially ritualized collective affirmation
of values,and renewal of participant belief therein.
Action: Shared work, whether constructive or destructive.