When assessing which individuals should participate in an assisted dialogue and negotiation, consider the following rules of thumb:
- Organize a constructive project composed of different voices and views.
- Look mainly to the “80%” (see below) to populate the project.
- Look for “thought leaders” and “thought influencers” who are passionate about the issue, disagree with each other, and are willing to engage in a constructive dialogue.
- Look for people of reasonable intelligence, reasonable openness, and reasonable self-discipline; those who are willing to enter into good-faith give-and-take solution-seeking discussions.
- Make sure the voices and views of the 20% absolutists on the fringe are heard. At a minimum, make sure they are invited as speakers or panelists so their views are in the mix.
- Reach out to some of that 20% to participate, but be very assertive and put explicit conditions on their involvement:
- A good-faith, give-and-take, solution-oriented effort
- Attendance at all meetings
- A willingness to refrain from independent media comments
These difficult choices are illustrated in the following diagram: