Cooperation – Activity 2

Debate vs Dialogue Conflict Management Activity

Activity type:

Learning goals:
This activity is a great way for participants to engage in a mini-conflict with another team member in a nonthreatening manner. The purpose of this exercise is for participants to understand that debate is an attempt to prove that your position is better than the other person’s position. The aim of it is to ‘win’ over the other person by finding faults in the other person’s position. On the other hand, a dialogue instead is about understanding and cooperation. The aim of dialogue is to reach mutual understanding while valuing the strengths of the other person’s position and this is the best solution over conflict management.

Group activity -2 trainees for role playing and all trainees in group discussion

45 minutes


1 – You will work in pairs.

2 – Each person will have to say the name of one object you can think of (for example, car, table, an animal, food etc.). Then, you will debate with each other to argue that your item is better than the other person’s item for 3 minutes.

3 – After three minutes, you will have to be engaged in a dialogue. This means asking each other questions about their items, listening to the answers and coming to an agreement between them. This process will last about 5 minutes.

Questions for reflection:

At the end of the exercise, you will have to reflect on the process of the debate and the dialogue.

  • How did you feel about each situation (debate vs dialogue)?
  • How did you react to each situation?
  • How would you behave in real conflict situations?
  • How did things change when you switched from debate to dialogue?
  • Is it difficult to listen when somebody disagrees with you? Why? How did you come to an agreement?
  • In what ways could you use these skills the next time you’re in conflict with another person?