Tough conversations on controversial topics don’t have to be a disaster, even if had over holiday visits and meals. The key to civil and productive conversations is to ask good questions. The right question can turn monologues into dialogues, surface-level discussions into deeper ones, and might even open a closed mind or two.
Here are six questions I’ve found helpful for creating good conversations:
First, What do you mean by that? The definition of words shapes debate. Don’t assume you are always using the same dictionary.
And: How do you know that is true? Assertions aren’t arguments, and this question takes you beyond comparing opinions.
Third, Where did you get this information?
Fourth: How did you come to this conclusion? Everyone has a story.
And the last two: What if you’re wrong? and What if you’re right? Ideas have consequences. These questions take ideas to their logical conclusion. Oh, and the best question: What are you thankful for?
From all of us at the Colson Center, Happy Thanksgiving.
This Point is re-published from 11.28.19.
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