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Communicating with Care

Conversation Guide

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We may want to communicate with others in such a way that we gain knowledge and bridge divides, but those conversations don’t always come naturally. Most of us struggle to self-evaluate our communication skills and we might be unaware of words and actions that shut down healthy dialogue when discussing divisive issues. In this conversation we will actively share and explore what works and what doesn’t, and we will reflect on ways that we can improve our interactions with others.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

Communicating with Care

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • What concerns, if any, do you have about engaging in–what are typically considered–difficult conversations (i.e. race, politics, religion, etc.)?
  • In your experience, what words or actions have ​you or others used​ that:
    • made you feel heard and/or bridged a divide?
    • made you feel dismissed and/or shut down communication?
  • How much grace (or courteous goodwill) are you willing to extend in communicating with others?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • What new understanding(s) about healthy communications have you gained through this discussion?
  • What new communication insight will you practice applying in your life, and how do you envision doing so?

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