DANA'S MINDFUL MINUTE: HOW TO ENGAGE IN DIVERSE CONVERSATIONS
posted: Apr. 21, 2023.
INSPIRATION THIS WEEK: CANCEL CULTURE
I am touching one of those taboo categories this week: politics. Don't worry, I am not pushing my own political agenda. In fact, I want to do the opposite. I want to invite you to the table to discuss your views- on politics, on values, on religion. Bring it on!
What I am encouraging, or rather discouraging, is this cancel culture we have built over the last decade or so. What is cancel culture? It can be defined as the "calling out" or public shaming of a person or group who are deemed offensive or engage in socially unacceptable behavior. People utilize social media to find mass withdrawal of support from these public figures.
Do I believe we should fight against marginalization of groups of people and harmful behaviors? Absolutely! But do I think people are WAY too accustomed to "canceling" those around them because they do not align in every value or disagree in some way...very much so. And I do believe it has created some toxic and divisive patterns in our culture.
THEME OF THE WEEK: LEARN TO DISAGREE WITHOUT CANCELING
I love this quote by Morgan Freeman: "Just because I disagree with you does not mean I hate you. We need to relearn that in society." Yes we do! I think we have lost the art of engaging in colorful, diverse conversations and forgot how to debate and remain open minded. Having disagreements or different perspectives is how we grow as individuals and grow as a society.
So let's practice that skill of having open and diverse dialogue. Below are some tips to bring into conversations with people you do not agree with:
- Have an Open Mind - Your worldview and set of values has been influenced by your culture and experiences. Remind yourself that others are looking through their own lens influenced by cultures or experiences different than you. Accept and celebrate those differences.
- Be Willing to Learn- Remember it is a conversation, a transaction of ideas. Open yourself up to the possibility of learning something. You can learn facets about a different perspective without "jumping to the other side."
- Listen first- Give your full attention when the other person is speaking instead of practicing your defense or thinking about how you're going to respond. You can take a pause after they are done speaking to then formulate your response.
- Ask Questions and Use Reflections- It may be easy to jump quickly to defending your viewpoint and you will have that chance. But first, show that you actually listened and are willing to learn by asking questions about their viewpoint. Or share a reflection on what you heard so you can clarify that you received the correct information.
- Present Your Point- Don't just assume your position is implied. Give the other person some clear points and reasons behind your stance. This way they can do the same and learn something from you.
- Remind Yourself the Goal is Not "To Win"- The goal is not to convince the other person of your point and bring them to your side. The goal is to learn, open your mind, and allow participation in diverse situations.
- Watch Your Body Language/Tone- It can be easy to get frustrated or passionate when discussing our values, but be careful not to come off too aggressive. Use a calm tone of voice, take breaths between sentences to slow yourself down, open your body posture and give physical space and warmth to invite conversation.
- Thank the person-The most important thing is reinforcing the conversation and building a growth culture. So thank the person for participating in a conversation of growth and understanding of sides, regardless if anyone's opinion changed.
CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: DEBATE SOMEONE
One of the best ways we can grow as individuals is to be faced with differences. It promotes diversity, growth mindset, learning, and shifting perspectives. So instead of running or shying away from that conversation that is difficult, lean in! Practice the skills above and open your mind!
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