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The Right Way to Talk across Divides

Improving conversational receptiveness

It involves using language that signals real interest in the other person's views.

  • When people appear receptive, others find their argument more persuasive.
  • Receptive language is also contagious as the other person will be more responsive in turn.
  • People like others more when they seem receptive.

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    IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

    The Right Way to Talk across Divides

    The Right Way to Talk across Divides

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-right-way-to-talk-across-divides/

    scientificamerican.com

    5

    Key Ideas

    Constructive engagement

    Constructive engagement involves cultivating goodwill between the parties involved.

    Fishbowl discussions

    This exercise involves members of one party sitting in a circle with the other group sitting around them. The outside group listens quietly while the inside group answers a set of questions.

    After each side answered and listened, the moderator brings them together for conversations about what everyone learned. Data suggests that despite strong views, participants change their attitude toward one another for the better.

    Disagreement

    We regularly find ourselves engaging with people whose core beliefs and values differ from our own. We might want to convince them to adopt our point of view, but this can lead to unproductive conflict.

    However, people who disagree passionately can be easily trained to have productive interactions.

    Improving conversational receptiveness

    It involves using language that signals real interest in the other person's views.

    • When people appear receptive, others find their argument more persuasive.
    • Receptive language is also contagious as the other person will be more responsive in turn.
    • People like others more when they seem receptive.

      Receptive words and phrases

      Signs of receptiveness:

      • Acknowledgment: "I understand that..." or "I believe you're saying..."
      • Hedging: It is indicating some uncertainty about the claim you want to make. "Going forward with this decision might..." is better than "Going forward with this decision will undoubtedly..."
      • Positive terms: "It is helpful..." works better than "We should not..."
      • Words such as "because" and "therefore" can set an argumentative or condescending tone.

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      Moreover, this kind of behavior can be recognized in extremists who, as a result of their own trauma, end up wanting the total control.

      Polarization today

      Nowadays, polarization has enabled the revival of authoritarianism, a real threat to our society. 

      In front of such danger, the dialogue between people sharing contrary points of view can prove extremely useful, as it allows individuals to become more open-minded and, therefore, to find solutions in order to fight the danger of the polarized mind.

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      Kant identifies truthfulness as an utterance that accurately represents one’s thoughts (including one’s beliefs), regardless of whether those thoughts are themselves accurate.
      Kant argues that lying is not permissible, but he allows for engaging in deception through careful word choice or evasion.

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