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Ideas and tips to get along and get stuff donexxxxxxxhjkxxx January 14, 2022
This edition is all about best practices for great conversations

I'm holding up some models for you.
And I'm encouraging YOU to model great conversations.

Talking is hard; you know, live conversation where people take turns listening and speaking. It's easier to not talk. Or type instead. Yet in my experience, nothing leads to shared understanding faster than live conversation.
Sean and Dr. Shah

Here in Maine we have a lot of people who don’t want to get vaccinated. Sean is one of them. And here in Maine we also have Dr. Shah, the Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control.

“This is exactly the conversation I want to have,” Dr. Shah said to Sean, a caller to the Maine Calling radio show. And then they both went on to model respectful conversation.

In the photo, Maine Calling host Jennifer Rooks listens patiently to the conversation between Sean and Dr. Shah.

Dr. Shah
  • Started with validation. “I hear you Sean.”
  • Never once shamed Sean or discounted Sean.
  • Asked Sean a question and then weaved Sean’s answer into the conversation later. He demonstrated that he was really listening to Sean's words.
  • Spoke his own truth unwavering. He shared his own beliefs about the vaccine; not looking down at Sean, just across at him.
  • Told a personal story. He started his sentences with "I." He spoke from the heart about recommending the vaccine to his mother.

  • Told his own personal story and how it led him to his conclusion. He started his sentences with "I."
  • Accepted that he didn’t know things.
  • Told what he was afraid of.
  • Never showed defensiveness. Or offensiveness. Just curiosity.
  • Listened without interruption.
  • Didn't agree to anything on the spot but seemed open to changing his mind.

Listen to the 10-minute conversation here. It starts about 25 minutes into the show. Dr. Shah specifically asked vaccine skeptics to call in. Maine Calling is produced and broadcast by Maine Public and hosted by Jennifer Rooks.
If you have been to a Make Shift Coffee House -- one of those forums I organized to talk politics across the divide -- then you will recognize the above from all those cards we handed out. As it happens, the very first Make Shift Coffee House was held on this very day, five years ago. At the three-year mark we made a little 2 min retrospective video if you want to reminisce.
Freeze, Flight, or Fight?
How do we respond to today's political world?

This is the title of a free program scheduled for Monday, January 24th at 5:30. Learn about it here.

While Make Shift Coffee House is not very active these days, another Maine group called Building Bridges has been working to bridge the political divide.

Click here for my one-pager with five pointers
Most Conflict is from Misunderstanding
“Misunderstanding is the cause of 90% of all conflict,” Craig explains in this short video.

Talking to a group of professionals who manage foreign exchange students, Craig discusses the importance of shared expectations and the high price of mismatched expectations.

Click here for the 2 min video, transcript, and comments
To Help You Get Along
Written and published by Craig Freshley. Thanks for walking along with me.
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