Your Conversation Essentials

Before you dig into this Dreamer discussion,
here are a few things to keep in mind.

Be curious.

Don’t assume you have all the answers or fully understand someone else’s viewpoint. Puzzled by an opinion someone holds? Ask a genuine question, like a simple “Why?” and take time to hear their response. You may find common ground you did not know you had.

Don’t be a
know-it-all.

Nobody wins hearts and minds by lecturing. Being knowledgeable and confident is great, but making others feel ignorant will not help your cause. Instead, think about why those facts speak to you. Share that.

Be confident.

Before you start a conversation about an issue, take a little time to educate yourself. You don’t need to know everything about a topic, but being able to ground your conversations in facts will keep it real, helping you feel more confident about speaking up.

Assume the best, not the worst.

Believing that people are coming from a good place—even if they see things differently—can be a game changer. By respecting others’ intentions, values, or viewpoints, you create space for them to speak and think differently.

Come from the heart.

Why does this issue matter to you? If it is a single word, like “fairness” think about what that word means to you. Being able to share a descriptive sentence or two that clearly expresses your emotions and passion about a topic helps others better appreciate your views.

Really listen.

Put down your device to give this conversation your undivided attention. Rather than formulating your rebuttal while others are speaking, really seek to understand what they are saying. Always be willing to be surprised or learn something new. It makes you hear things differently.

Remember what
we all share.

Some truths transcend the issues and bind us together. Call them values, or just basic human needs. We all want happy, healthy lives. We want safety and security for ourselves and our families. When opinions differ, think about what we have in common, and start—or restart—from there.