Here are some guidelines for you to keep in mind during any conversation:
- Listen to understand—to expand your insights, to see differences and similarities, to learn.
- Speak to share and inform, raise or answer questions, offer an insight, help focus the discussion, state an opinion.
- Keep it inclusive—share the airtime, encourage everyone to join in, avoid dominating or interrupting.
- Search for deeper meaning. Look for core needs or values underlying people’s feelings.
- Offer and ask for specifics rather than generalizations.
- If the conversation gets hot, with interruptions and excited repartee, consider using a 'Talking Object' to slow things down.
- Ask for a time out if the conversation seems to be fragmenting, confusing or chaotic. A moment of silence can be helpful.
- If stuck in disagreement or debate, respectfully acknowledge your differences and change course to explore underlying assumptions, differing information, beliefs, values, etc.
Go forth and chat! Need some tips? Let's chat!