Everybody's talking but is it taking the country or the global village anyplace new or different?
How many everyday dialogs identify pathways for new collaborations or new ways to view old challenges? Whether you are talking to others at an occupation or at a tea or coffee party, check out these guide posts and keep moving forward.
Liberty Lights, as I call them, are ordinary people who made a commitment to leading community conversations online with grace, diplomacy and skill. They seek to engage neighbors and each other in efforts to increase community capacity, learn through mutual support and care, and create a tone and culture for holding meaningful dialogs.
1. Ask powerful questions that seek to stimulate curiosity, unlock creativity and encourage others to examine their hidden assumptions, beliefs and biases. Transform dialogs into experiential learning opportunities. The questions below are designed to help you facilitate a thought-provoking conversation: Tell me your life story so I might better understand your beliefs. Who are you? (Explores partisan differences) Imagine we got it right. What steps did we take as a nation to reach consensus? (Helps stimulate creativity and curiosity) Could we take inventory of all the assets in our community and then decide how to bring the talents of those on the margins into the mainstream? Where did you get your information from? Who is your source? (Demands accountability) As William Edwards Deming, the American statistician and management guru said, "In God we trust; all others bring data."
2. Reflect on the following: What we know. What we don't know. What we don't know we don't know.
3. Use universal sources that are likely to be accepted by broad audiences. Try to gather facts and statistics from a wide variety of news sources, books and experts. Sources must have credibility with the audience you seek to persuade.
4. Use words that inspire trust and develop avenues for collaboration and compromise.
5. Treat relationships as a form of currency: Maintain a diversified portfolio.
6. Learn one surprising fact every day. Generously give away these gems to strangers. The more you share, the greater your return.
7. Audit your cultural assumptions and beliefs regularly to ensure they aren't limiting your ability to see truth or reality clearly.
8. When examining opponent’s arguments ask yourself: What is it they know that I don't know?
9. Embrace civility as a community and global investment strategy. As Mary Wortley Montagu says, "Civility costs nothing, and buys everything." We don't to agree but we ought to try to leave open the door to change.
10. Challenge a colleague's facts or conclusion, but never his or her character or grammar.
11. Refrain from using derogatory and offensive words that keep others from seeing how wise you are.
12. Model Cultural Competencies. Cultural competencies include: active listening, empathy, cultural awareness and knowledge, tolerance of ambiguity and more.
13. Carry your culture into dialogs with you but don't let it hold you back. Keep in mind your beliefs, values and customs are but one book in the global library. Each volume offers fascinating life lessons. Individualists, who believe decisions should be based upon what's best for the individual, and collectivists, who believe decisions should be based upon what's best for the community, will often disagree. Combine both lenses, and a community gains a deeper understanding of the challenges.
Credits.: Making a Difference in Memphis Workshop
Appreciative Inquiry: Asking Powerful Questions : Kansas Coalition Against Sexual And Domestic Violence