Communication Workshop

The ability to have civil conversations and thoughtful disagreements is crucial to a strong civil society.
“If no one ever argues, you’re not likely to give up on old ways of doing things, let alone try new ones. Disagreement is the antidote to groupthink. We’re at our most imaginative when we’re out of sync. We need to learn how to dish it out – and how to take it.”
—Adam Grant, New York Times,
In this age of divisiveness, disturbing headlines, and excessive devices, strong communication skills are more important than ever.
But to be clear, we all need more practice mastering these hallmarks of civil conversation.

  1. Begin with respect. (Conversation is like a game of Pitch and Catch.) Every civil conversation must begin in a place of mutual respect.
  2. Speak from the heart. (Story Telling.) Tell stories about how current events impact you or people you know specifically. Remind yourself, the goal is understanding, not a changed mind.
  3. Listen to understand. (Suspend the Donkey .) Understanding must be the number one goal, when starting up a meaningful conversation about an important topic. Let go in order to understand.
  4. Get used to being wrong. (Exercise Influence when we lack authority.) “I may be wrong, after all neither of us are an authority on this.”
  5. Don’t be afraid to disagree. “Be an Assertive Upstander.” Get over the temptation to agree for the sake of getting along. Say, “I Disagree”. Stand up for your beliefs. Learn to disagree with respect, empathy, and curiosity

How to Become an Assertive Communicator In order to develop a more assertive communication style, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Take ownership (use “I” statements)
Maintain eye contact.
Learn to say “no”.
Voice your needs and desires confidently
Start a game of Pitch and Catch with a Republican. Tell your story. Suspend the Donkey so you can hear their point of view. Exercise Influence. Say I Disagree! Be assertive! Disagreement is the antidote to groupthink. It’s up to us to change the conversation!

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