how to talk to a ‘non-believer’

First, before any converstion begins know your own deeper needs and to identify and clearly articulate what those needs are to yourself before you try to communicate them with others.  As one proceeds in a conversation with a person whose opinions differs from one’s own it is important to remember one’s personal responsibility for one’s actions and it is one’s own choice we how one responds to others.

Second, remeber you are talking with a person whose opinions deserve respect.  Try to contribute to relationships/conversations based in cooperation and collaboration.  When the focus is on clarifying what is being observed, felt, needed, and wanted, rather than on diagnosing, judging, or conversion we  foster respect, attentiveness and empathy.

Second, keep ‘principles over personalities’ in mind; focus on “I” statements.  Everyone will have their own supportable information/facts, keep the focus on the principle of the conversation not the details.  Remember, people are talking not news feeds.

Third, try using Non-Violent Communication skills:

  • Differentiating observation from evaluation, being able to carefully observe what is happening free of evaluation, and to specify behaviors and conditions that are affecting us
  • Differentiating feeling from thinking, being able to identify and express internal feeling states in a way that does not imply judgment, criticism, or blame/punishment
  • Connecting with the universal human needs/values (e.g. sustenance, trust, understanding) in us that are being met or not met in relation to what is happening and how we are feeling
  • Requesting what we would like in a way that clearly and specifically states what we do want (rather than what we don’t want), and that is truly a request and not a demand (i.e. attempting to motivate, however subtly, out of fear, guilt, shame, obligation, etc. rather than out of willingness and compassionate giving)

About iwillbepartofthechange

one day at a time working to make the changes in one's self and one's actions that one would like to see change in the world

Posted on November 2, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks for sending that along.
    I remind myself, from time to time, of Bertrand Russell’s point that if one starts to feel angry in a discussion then one is conceding some truth in what the other is saying. The goal in any discussion should be to discover the good in what the other person is saying. Kind of difficult to put in practice, of course…

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