The Engagement Continuum - Deepstash
The Engagement Continuum

The Engagement Continuum

Engagement can be thought of as a continuum:

  • Conversations in which we’re disengaged may include avoidance, stonewalling, silent treatment, or simply being zoned out. These forms of engagement are even destructive to our relationships.
  • Constructive engagement means holding active, meaningful, intimate conversations. We’re genuine and truthful, but approach topics with the hope of discovery and greater fulfillment.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Can We Learn to Argue Constructively? | The Wright Foundation

How We Argue

Many people go in with a pre-recorded message in their heads. They know the point they want to make and assume they know the intent of the other party. They’ve already played it out in their minds.

Other people argue on the defense. There’s something about themselves they don’t want to see or learn. They may even know there’s a kernel of truth to the counterargument, but they don’t want to acknowledge the differing point-of-view.

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How You Can Learn to Argue Constructively

If we want to engage productively—to argue constructively—we can think of engagement as a continuum rather than an on/off or yes/no discussion.

For better discussions and deeper engagement, we should approach interactions with understanding and a desire to learn from the other person.

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Ways To Approach A Coversation

We go into conversations assuming there will be a disagreement, but if we shift our assumptions, we will experience a much better interaction:

  • Assume goodwill from your partner in each interaction.
  • Approach interactions with understanding and a desire to learn from the other person.
  • Listen to both sides of a discussion. This doesn’t mean compromising your values or letting go of your perspective.
  • Think of your next discussion like an interview, rather than an opportunity to scream your opinions.

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RELATED IDEA

A straw man argument is a misrepresentation of an opinion or viewpoint, designed to be as easy as possible to contradict.

The only purpose is for it to be easy to expose. It’s not an argument you happen to find inconvenient or challenging. It’s one that is logically flawed.

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Constructive engagement

Constructive engagement involves cultivating goodwill between the parties involved.

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Taking the time to address difficult issues

Difficult conversations at work are inevitable, whether you're a leader addressing a team member's performance or an employee unhappy about a situation with your boss. Remote working adds another layer of difficulty.

Many people would rather leave than talk to their boss. However, if people had taken the time to address the issues, they may have had a different outcome.

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