Better conversations are the key to civility. Imagine seeing a Facebook post of someone you work with that surprises you. You are not sure you like the fact that they support an issue that you see in an entirely different way. Then you see a few more posts that stand in opposition to your beliefs about an issue. Finally you have had enough so you unfriend them. When you see them at work, it feels awkward and you avoid conversations.
Many of us have never been that skilled in having a conversation but now, thanks to social media, we are able to steer clear of conversations with people we don’t agree. The negative aspect to this approach is that we are cutting off potential agreement, commitments or common ground. There could be something about that person which you can relate and feel a connection. As a reminder check out the connection found by Donna Red Wing and Bob Vander Plaats, two voices on opposite sides of marriage legislation.
Consider the 10 points made in this TED Talk by Celeste Headlee. She is an interviewer by training and shares her tips on what she does to find out interesting things about other people. She invites us to apply the same practices to everyday conversation. Watch the TED Talk and decide if you could apply just one of these tips in real life in face to face conversations.
What do you think? Do you think becoming skilled at conversation in the ways suggested by Ms. Headlee will lead to a respectful and more open workplace?
The Wallace Centers of Iowa provides tips and tools for leading with civility in the workplace.