Conversations on Polarizing Topics Are Possible. If You’re Up for It, Here’s How to Start - By Caitlyn Finton - Behavioral Scientist - Deepstash

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The necessity of engaging in difficult conversations

The necessity of engaging in difficult conversations

As people, we develop our ideas by interacting with others, testing our thinking, and getting feedback. Discussing controversial topics with our family and peers helps us learn and grow.

However, these conversations can reveal potentially relationship-ending opinions. Losing out on these conversations makes us more estranged and entrenched in our own ways of thinking.

Some tips can help you to approach these conversations and keep discussions productive.

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Consider the other person's background

Before you start a conversation with someone, take a moment to consider how their life may have shaped their opinions.

People's experiences and beliefs may change how people interact with scientific evidence. People don't trust science on certain topics because they don't yet know enough about it.

The solution is to simply tell people the facts, remedying their knowledge deficit and increasing support for scientific ideas.

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Use personal stories

Use personal stories

You can shape a person's mind on a controversial topic with the "deep canvassing" technique.

Deep canvassing uses a person's specific experiences to change their views on a topic. It is done by guiding them through nonjudgmental conversations about personal narratives related to the topic.

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Actively listen and acknowledge the views of the other person

This conversation strategy involves a variety of verbal and nonverbal cues, such as restating comments, asking questions, and showing your attention.

In addition, don't be afraid to briefly pause a conversation that’s heating up to keep emotions under control. This will help both parties to be more objective in assessing one another's arguments.

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IDEAS CURATED BY

holdenioo

How we talk to each other determines a big part of how we live.

Holden O.'s ideas are part of this journey:

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