Having conversations with someone you don’t agree with can be difficult, exhausting and overwhelming. When discussing topics such as politics, religion or science, inevitably people will have different views. Here are six tips from the Business Insider experts on how to have these conversations.
- Don’t start the conversation with politics, start with care.
Establish mutual respect before jumping into politics. Asking how someone is, can make all the difference in creating a respectful and open conversation. Ensuring we don’t go into conversations with contempt for the other person, is also an important starting point.
- Listen and repeat what the person says to establish empathy.
It’s important to understand the other person’s perspective and show genuine interest in their point of view. This is one of the key parts of negotiation and is known as cognitive empathy. To do this, repeat what someone has said back to them, this demonstrates you’re listening and helps your understanding.
- Find the common ground.
Centre the conversation around something you have in common. You are likely to have something in common at least on a very general level. For example, a climate change sceptic may be just as interested as you in reducing their energy use. Find that and go from there.
- Be curious.
Aim to be a detective in the conversation rather than fixating on your own viewpoints. Ensuring that you are repeating what the other person has said (step 2) is an integral part of this and might lead to you discovering another avenue of conversation, or a point of view you hadn’t considered before.
- Don’t be ‘in it to win it’; leave your ego at the door.
Remember your aim is for the other person to say, ‘that’s right’ not ‘you’re right’. The former shows you agree on a concept, the latter is often a way to get the other person to stop talking. You are unlikely to change someone’s mind, especially going into the conversation with the mentality that you’re right and they’re wrong.
- Practice healthy conflict.
Have these conversations regularly, particularly if you have large ideological differences with family and friends. Practice makes these conversations easier and strengthens your ability to have productive discussions. Conflict is an essential part of relationships and shouldn’t be shied away from.
Read more at: Business Insider
By Olivia Jaconelli