A good discussion involves listening with empathy, searching for common ground, exploring new ideas and perspectives and bringing unexamined assumptions into the open. When done well the benefits can be extraordinary. New perspectives and insights can be gained, new levels of creativity stimulated and bonds of community strengthened.
Think in terms of an ‘hour glass’ four stage process. Each stage linking to the next. The first stage opens dialogue, the second examines it, the third bring personal value to it and the fourth applies it. When all stages are in play there is a dynamic that builds power from the bottom up and from the inside out.