Tuesday, March 17, 2020

20 Conversations for 2020 Challenge -- Conversation #9 Setting the Right Conditions for Productive Dialogues

Conversation #9 How might we set the right conditions for productive dialogues?

There are some really good ideas for making the right conditions for productive dialogue at the emergent strategy group agreements post. The concept of setting the right conditions is to make sure that everyone is heard and respected in a discussion. One of the big ones on the list that is super important in my mind is confidentiality. I never want to share someone else's story, but I can take away valuable lessons from a conversation without violating the other person's confidentiality. People need to feel safe and confidentiality helps them feel that way. Another big one on the list for me is being open to learning. You don't have to agree with someone in order to learn something from them. Some of the best lessons I've learned in my life came from people I don't see eye-to-eye with, but by being open to learning -- the conversation was still productive and I understood the other person's perspective better, which led to easier communication with that person later. Assuming best intentions is another very helpful approach. It is easy to get upset or offended, but even when that happens, you can still assume that the person isn't trying to be insulting intentionally (although if someone is being insulting intentionally that is a different matter). Often times people don't realize that they are being offensive or insensitive and if you can approach them without being upset, you can often teach them something. It isn't easy, but it can be done. I watched Get Out with my mother and had some very good dialogue about the messages in the movie. The movie wasn't comfortable for her to watch, but me being open to not getting offended by her thoughts allowed me to point out some very important cultural norms that need changing.

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