2015 is drawing to a close and it’s time to think about how to start 2016 with a fresh, new start.

I read a quote some time ago, that the hardest conversations to have are with someone you don’t agree with. So true.

Good conversations are not just for like-minded people though. Those are just the easier ones.

Our world seems to be a place where excluding others makes some feel ‘safer’. Where ridiculing people we don’t agree with is the new norm. Where it’s easier to throw word bombs than it is to listen to those who have a different perspective that you do.

Enter the Public Conversations Project.

Here is their philosophy:

Conversations are at the heart of relationships,

which are at the heart of communities.

The method that they use is Reflective Structured Dialogue. It draws on strategies developed by family therapists to promote effective communication in the midst of painful differences. Their goal is to help people be more comfortable and curious about those with whom they are in conflict.

When I read about this approach, it stressed that it helped to prevent old, unproductive patterns – the ones that we all fall in to! And to enhance listening a speaking respectfully.

The Public Conversations Project offers workshops to train participants on how to heave more meaningful conversations.

Here is the first learning objective of their flagship workshop entitled “The Power of Dialogue – Constructive Conversations in Divisive Issues:

to recognize the signs of polarization and the effects of the strong emotions we have on how we perceive and communicate with others.

Wouldn’t it be great if taking this workshop would be a new year’s resolution for the politicians who take the lazy approach of name calling rather than the difficult one of bringing people together to address our challenges?

I think that the American people would be relieved and their faith in elected officials would begin to be restored.

Wishing you a conversation filled 2016.


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