The Top Challenge: Restoring Civility

Some might argue that, after the first week of the Trump Administration, the plea, “Can’t we all just get along?” is now a pipe dream.

I disagree…respectfully.  Civil conversation is now a basic survival skill. It needs to be taught in every school, every workplace, every church, every community. Because it’s the starting point for unified work that’s impossible when we feel threatened at every turn. Yet, not everyone and everything we hear and see is a threat. We can only figure  out who’s who, and what’s real, by actually talking to people.

I challenge you: Have a conversation with someone who didn’t vote the way you did. Find ONE thing you can work on together.

Don’t argue with them. Find ONE issue that you are equally concerned about. And make a pact to work with them to protect that right, push for that outcome, that’s important to you both.

I’m not an expert in Conversational Intelligence. Dr. Judith E. Glaser is. She literally wrote the book. She said,

“With all that is happening globally, especially in the U.S. this week – there has never been a more important time to focus on the level of conversations we are choosing to have. 

“Uncertainty and adversity are at an all time high – how can we show up asking questions that don’t have answers, and listening to connect to others in the face of differences?

RELATED: Four essential steps to civility, by Michael O’Brien 

When everybody is yelling, nobody is listening. Especially when so many people are feeling stressed and NOT HEARD, it’s vital to stop and LISTEN to one another, connecting with open minds, and appreciating different perspectives at work and in life.

I’m talking about the way we interact with friends and family and colleagues at work and in the community. We desperately need to re-discover how to have civil conversations about differences, find common ground, and new approaches to problems we agree we both want to solve.

When I started this blog, I vowed to reach out and have those kind of conversations. I started doing that right after the election.

Yesterday, I had a three-hour conversation with someone who voted differently from me. He said he doesn’t tell almost anybody how he voted. But he trusted me enough to tell me what he most hoped when he cast his vote for Trump, and what he was most concerned about now that Trump and the Republicans are in power.

I’m not an expert in Conversational Intelligence. But it’s high time we all made the commitment to learn how to connect with people outside our own bubbles before we suffocate.

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