Ruth Allington – Effective dialogue and the persuasive power of listening

Allington Collaborative Problem Solving Ltd, Oxfordshire, UK.

Effective dialogue between mineral operators, the public and other stakeholders is the basis for understanding the world from other perspectives. Establishing effective dialogue systems is self-evidently a fundamentally important tool in the ESG toolbox, especially in the areas of social acceptance and risk management.

Successful dialogue requires much more than having skill in presenting or imparting our information, needs and requests to other people. Without effective listening, there can be no understanding, and without understanding, no way of figuring out how to create the conditions in which a relationship based on consent and collaboration can be established.

This contribution will illustrate the persuasive and transformative power of listening by reference to the presenter’s experience in facilitating effective dialogue and mediating disputes between mineral operators and communities in conflict situations, drawing on the principles of non-violent communication[1] and the Dialogue Road MapTM [2].

[1] Rosenberg, M. B., 2015. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. Puddledancer Press, Encinitas, CA, USA

[2] Maria Arpa, Centre for Peaceful Solutions.


Ruth Allington has almost 40 years of UK and international experience as a consultant specialising in the evaluation of resources and reserves of construction materials and industrial minerals and in the responsible design of quarries to recover them.

Since retiring from full time consultancy in 2019, she has established a freelance business blending her technical expertise and experience with commercial and community mediation and facilitation, public speaking, mentoring, and training. Ruth has found her ‘soft’ professional skills and experience she has acquired (especially effective listening, problem definition, risk assessment and management, ability to provide accessible explanations of concepts and information to a wide range of specialist and non-specialist stakeholders) to be essential underpinning to her consultancy, business administration and voluntary governance activities. They are particularly important in initiatives to promote social acceptance, dispute resolution and social justice for quarrying and mining.