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Thanksgiving is just around the corner. For many, that means being surrounded by loved ones, showing gratitude, and sharing a home-cooked meal. But for some, the Thanksgiving dinner table can also be home to fierce disagreements between friends and family members. This year, let’s put constructive conversation back on the table.
This #TakeActionTuesday, learn how to effectively approach difficult conversations in order to learn from other’s perspectives and engage in productive discourse.
- Don’t Oversimplify. Most issues are not black and white. Oversimplifying an issue can lead us to believe that one side is 100% right and one side is 100% wrong. Recognize these nuances and complexities first, before sharing the reasoning behind your beliefs and conclusions.
- Speak From Personal Experience. Avoid speaking on behalf of a political party or group, and instead try to personalize your beliefs. How have your life experiences and values led you to this conclusion, and how have another’s experiences caused them to feel or think differently? How does this issue impact you personally?
- Really Listen. There’s more to listening than remaining quiet while someone else is speaking. Real listening requires a true curiosity, a willingness to be surprised, and the ability to take in new information without prejudgement. Finally, approach conversations with trust in the decency and benevolence of the other person. Remember that in most cases, both people want to see the same positive results for their families and communities but may simply believe in different tactics to get there.
Looking for more tips for engaging in difficulting conversations this holiday season? Check out the New York Times’ full guide!
Did you have a difficult conversation around this year’s Thanksgiving dinner table? Tell us how it went at firstname.lastname@example.org.