One interesting thing about family is that although everybody grew up in the same house with the same parents, everyone has different experiences, dreams, ways of life, and thoughts. This scenario also plays out in the workplace, where people from different backgrounds and views work together to achieve a common goal.
Civil discourse allows to talk about sensitive family and business issues.
Conversation with family members or work colleagues can be enriching because of the multiple viewpoints and diverse perspectives. You are sure to learn one or two things from your work colleagues or family members whenever you have a discussion with them. Having this much diversity in opinions and viewpoints is a good thing. It opens us up to experiences and values we might not have encountered without interacting with these people.
Surely you can remember scenarios where your relative or colleague helped you understand something you were unfamiliar or confused about. Even if you have not been in that situation, you have certainly been in a situation where a business colleague or family member pointed out something about yourself that you didn’t know before. Because of our diverse backgrounds and because human interaction is unavoidable, we always come in contact with people who do not agree to the same thing we agree to or think as we do.
Sometimes this diversity can result in an enriching experience. Other times it results in controversy and conflicts.
However, with civil discourse, one will be better equipped to handle contrary opinions and viewpoints. Using civil discourse techniques also opens one up to the difference between dialogue vs. debate and how to navigate them better. Even though we may have the best intentions in communicating with others, conflicts and quarrels will always occur. Therefore we must learn how to resolve these issues using the civil discourse tenets below.
Many conflicts arise because of miscommunication during conversations. And this is all too common with people we are close with, like family members and work colleagues. We usually assume what this group of people means to say and reply to our assumption of their words rather than what they say. Because of our assumption, we focus on giving the appropriate reply rather than listening to them as they speak. This results in misunderstanding as we do not focus on the issue.
Fortunately, this can be avoided by listening actively to what the speaker is saying. When you listen actively, you create an environment with mutual understanding. This way, the speaker will feel heard and validated, and you get to understand the speaker’s perspective.
Active listening is a crucial part of civil discourse, and it comes with positive facial expressions and clarifying statements. Another advantage of active listening is that the speaker tends to reciprocate your genuine interest when speaking by listening to you without interruption. When this is regularized, both parties will better understand themselves, and the issue of conflicts and quarrels will be greatly reduced.
Avoid Personal Attacks
We often get carried away during the discussion; sometimes, conversations can get pretty intense. No matter how polite one is, one cannot entirely escape from quarrels and disagreements. However, when this happens, it is important to remember that the disagreement is about an issue and not the person. Stick to the issue and find a way to respectfully diffuse the disputes rather than inflate the conflicts by going personal or trading insults. Once a disagreement has degenerated into name-calling, it gets hard to stick to the topic of discussion.
Most disagreements are caused by one party trying to force their opinion on the other person. Most people approach conversations with a closed mindset. With this mindset, the conversation is unlikely to bear fruit as they will not be willing to consider other ideas. To improve the relationship and resolve whatever issues lie between your family and business colleagues, you need to be curious and open to new ideas. Being open-minded doesn’t mean that you have to accept all ideas. No, it means you are winning to think about a contrary viewpoint and check its validity before rejecting or accepting it. Applying this could lead to a more satisfying conversation and help quickly resolve disagreements.
Human interaction is a vital part of our existence. Because of our diverse thought patterns and views, there are bound to be disagreements on various issues. How we handle these disagreements determines how far we will go and the quality of our relationship with others.
Because conflict is unavoidable in human interaction, it is crucial to learn how to handle it, especially when it concerns people close to us, like our family, friends, or business colleagues. If you value a relationship, you will be more willing to apply civil discourse techniques in handling the disagreements that arise during discussions with the other person.