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Chapter 7: Dialogue Skills in Context
Key ingredients to helping both parties remain calm, respectful, and invested bridging the divide:
- Managing emotions
- Talking Effectively
Upon noticing potential for dialogue:
- Time of day
- Mutual activity
- Idle time
- Entering or exiting a place
- Break time
These things provide plenty opportunity to engage with others, but I think Tania Israel assumes we are already confident in our ability to make conversation.
One of my own blunders has been to not only make eye contact with others, but also say, "Hello," the hurdle begins within my own mind of course; relating to how I feel about myself in a moment I feel I could reach out.
It won't be often that I am feeling happy to connect with others past chitchat; working on this part of my seemingly endless scroll of self-improvement projects.
This next sentence I use relatedwords.org to find alternate words which replace ones that seem overused.
Aside from short interchange with strangers, we can ameliorate our aptitude in diplomacy by culminating publicity of the local population through several forms:
- Faith community
- Our children's friend's parents
My church community, for instance, encourages dialogue. The leadership guides those in their line of questioning to resolve inquiry through engaging to the best of their ability.
I just bought a book titled Web of Lies Hopefully - I read in the table of contents a section that will be discussing just a few logical fallacies.
I bring up my church because the way the leadership has confronted my skepticism has been fruitful; not just for my own understanding but apparently the church members appreciate the kinds of questions I ask.
By the way, these "church people" I associate with are regular people like you & me. They lead fulfilling lives because they seek self-development through community involvement & building a relationship with God. They do great work unto themselves & others, in light of the fact that some of their upbringings were not holy or godly by any means.
Tania writes how some communities encourage dialogue due to how much tension some feel when they perceive the majority hold a view different from their own.
Tania emphasizes a point she wrote in the beginning about framing the material as applying to dialogue *with someone who wants to be in dialogue*, meaning we are unlikely to succeed in dragging some unwilling person into dialogue, whether that may be political.
Skillful in Dialogue
We are not born with these skills. Through desire & work we attain things we seek. Granted, some will struggle more than others - nobody is perfect and I doubt perfectionism.
A word on perfection. Perfection means limitation.
Let me expound if just so briefly. Perfection of one thing will mean we are not good at many numerous other things. If we must retain our sense of perfection, let it be perfectionism in being a "Jack of all trades."
To perfect our ability to learn anything we put our mind to at any given moment, I think is truly the most useful as a perfectionist.
I want to add to this paragraph which discussed the fact that even the ones exposed to the techniques of successful dialogue, about the disparity in skills levels between parties.
Sometimes, oftentimes we will have to be the **leaders** in some sense, to allow everyone to speak their mind.
The whole point of this book is to understand the other person; persuasion was not a big part of reading this Beyond Your Bubble, from what I've seen thus far.
Tania takes a dramatic turn here in this passage. I think instead of discussing the likelihood of experiencing a disparity with the skills two dialogue partners will undoubtedly experience, Tania should regard leadership with more importance.
The section is labelled "Skillfulness in Dialogue" and to me, having awareness others do not have shouldn't be about correcting others, but rather using that awareness as an appreciation to help others along with their own ability.
I will excerpt a part of this section which exemplifies my point about how Tania is advising we utilize our ability.
...you may need to determine what level of emotional reactivity, interrupting, and one-sided sharing of their own views you can withstand. You may be able to shift or encourage through modeling...but be prepared for a potential skill imbalance.
I think the skillfulness should regard leadership rather than finding ways we must endure our partner's inabilities or their unawareness of the kinds of things we've learned.
I noticed during home group, a newly wed discussing the matter at hand. The wife says something then just afterwards, the husband reflects to the group in a supportive way, because he is either aware of how self-conscious his wife is through her own ability to communicate her views, or he's trying too hard at being a supportive husband. Either way, it's adorable.
Distance Between Views
Most heated conflicts occur among people who have similar goals but different ways of achieving them.
Not much I can do here beside thinking about the Bilderburg Group discussing, in secret, the future of the world. I wonder what their dialogue is like. Whether they get into heated arguments about whose people will die first, what might have to happen for one country to impose the kinds of sanctions on another which will (domino effect) put into motion other orders for black markets. We know the elite control massive swaths of logistics. We know federal agencies operate black operations. We know our people train terrorists. We know our people traffick humans. This has all been proven through the interweb.
How to go about getting done what must be done for these elite groups of global influence must be interesting.
The Politics of Pizza
Other things that could affect dialogue dynamics:
Tania dares to make an analogy using pizza. She says dialogue is like ordering a pizza which cannot include different toppings because, "...you share one common dialogue experience...[which requires] negotiation."
I think pizza is a bad analogy because - just walk into any pizza parlor; they will make it how two or more people want it, differently, for the same pie. It's not as if two people who want different toppings can't get half the pie with one topping and the other half, another topping. Senseless analogies abound.
I'm not even going to bother reading the rest of this section.
Identities and Affiliations with Celine and Kevin
Politics are often about policies rooted in our values and experiences and...have a tangible impact on our lives.
It's important to recognize our own biases.
Our opinions have been shaped by our experiences and values in the context of our identities and affiliations.
Engaging in dialogue may unmoor certainty and open us to new ways of thinking.
Unmoor: To loosen from or as if from moorings
Chapter 8: Dialogue in Action
Along the way to better utilizing the teachings we can adopt from Tania Israel's book; we conform to integrity & grace unto others and unto our self.
Dialogue can feel intimidating. Not performing well with others may cause us to doubt our ability to perform.
It can be difficult if we feel unskilled and alienated...[from this difficult may develop a fear of] entering into dialogue regularly.
I think practicing dialogue may be like practicing being rejected from asking out the opposite sex; as men, it's important for us to become okay with rejection. Engaging in dialogue may feel like rejection until we develop a charisma.
I am not intending to elude to the idea that once we attain charisma, that we should exploit others in our favor. Rather, we should be humble thereafter in our engagements.
- Keep motivations in mind
- Assess strength & weakness
- Work developing skills of dialogue
- Just go for it
Exiting with Intention
Whether we are out of time or want to reconvene later or are uncomfortable with a conversation; it's okay to disrupt dialogue.
I will mention that some people will take advantage of this module of functioning in a way which benefits themself by interrupting others who they do not want to listen talk.
The reason I bring up those who interrupt others is because sometimes (even myself) uses these means to abrubtly end conversations when we do not feel patient to listen to the person speaking. Many times I hear my Mom speaking to relatives; after they shoot their spiel at her, they will interrupt her from speaking and claim they have an appointment or have to do something else. It's rude and so sad - yet, I realize I do this to my Mom too.
There are certain points in our lives we notice the flaws of others, but I think we should take into account the potential from which we notice those flaws are because, in part, we feel that way about our self; it's just as important to recogne we feel these things about our self.
Feeling distressed or depleted or triggered or fed up - are not good mood states to be formulating exit strategies.
Dialogue is more likely to go smoothy if we are clear and brief.
Clarity is crucial so the other person understands we are done with the conversation.
I'm proud that Tania mentions it may be helpful to,
reflect on the experience, either individually or with someone else.
She recommends that we either express it through writing or debriefing someone who supports us.
I reckon, some people need more support than ever, because the problems which divide us these days are likely to cause some distress that people have not been raised to deal with unto them self.
Whether a person can handle their emotions without causing a scene in public is a testament to how much either they value self-discipline or otherwise have been taught to seek inner peace & calm to resolve such inner turmoil.
Brevity will bring a conversation to a close but we may choose for natural closure by taking our time.
Integrity and Grace
To engage in dialogue with someone across political lines, all we need to do is understand the other person and help them feel safe.
I would add that, as Christians, we should also remain humble and "empty our cup" to say that we should allow them to inform us as if we knew nothing, as children.
When our motives, reactions, and distortions are outside our awareness, it is difficult to be whole, to act in integrity.
Integrity speaks to the strength of an individual.
- In building & engineering; integrity maintains structure through harsh weather and earthquakes.
- In the weave of fabric, integrity limits tearing.
- For dialogue, we develop bonds with family, friends, and community.
In trusting relationships, it's easy to be fallible **and** forgive our self for our shortcomings. Intellectual humility [through God's mercy, remaining humble in our pursuits], we can be graceful.
We will aspire to do it well, but will not always get it right.
The conclusion was that to engage in dialogue, but also use these new abilities with respect through grace & integrity. There is an Additional Resources chapter that may be of use, but I'm too excited to start reading my next book to spend any more time with Beyond Your Bubble.