Ground Rules for Successful Face to Face Conversations

We want calm conversations, not heated arguments.

Before you Meet:

  1. Write down (outline) how you feel.
  2. Write down (outline) what you believe.
  3. Write down (outline) how you believe the other party feels.
  4. Write down (outline) what you believe the other party believes.
  5. Bring your outline to your meeting.

Agree to the Following:

  1. You will be respectful.
  2. Name calling of anyone is NOT allowed.
  3. Do NOT raise your voice.
  4. Your goal is to UNDERSTAND, not CONVINCE. 
  5. State your position clearly, but courteously.
  6. Explain your position positively, NOT defensively.
  7. Look for a compromise that would be acceptable to both parties.

Getting the Conversation Started:

Both or All Parties

  1. Select the topic for discussion, the persons involved and the time and place of the meeting.
  2. Toss a coin (or something) to decide who starts and order of talkers.

STEP 1

For a conversation, you need to both talk and listen to the other person talk.  Someone gets to start the conversation.  For step 2, the order will be reversed.

Talkers

  1. State what you believe about the chosen subject.
  2. State what you are feeling and why you feel like you do.
  3. Wait on the other party's reply.

Listeners

  1. Restate (in your own words) what the other person has told you and get a confirmation from them that you are understanding them.
  2. Ask them to explain further how they came to believe as they do.
  3. Listen.
  4. Restate (in your own words) what the other person has told you and get a confirmation from them that you are understanding them.

STEP 2

Now it is time to change roles from talking and listening and go through the same process again.

Talkers

  1. State what you believe about the chosen subject.
  2. State what you are feeling and why you feel like you do.
  3. Wait on the other party's reply.

Listeners

  1. Restate (in your own words) what the other person has told you and get a confirmation from them that you are understanding them.
  2. Ask them to explain further how they came to believe as they do.
  3. Listen.
  4. Restate (in your own words) what the other person has told you and get a confirmation from them that you are understanding them.

STEP 3

  1. Identify your common ground.  Make notes on where you agree.
  2. Is what you agree upon more weighty than where you disagree?
  3. Is there any way of finding an acceptable compromise between you?
  4. Is there something that you would like to research and discuss further soon?

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