Curiosity Conversations to connect, live, and work with people with different opinions, beliefs, and values

Curiosity Conversations to connect, live, and work with people with different opinions, beliefs, and values

In this month’s edition of Curiosity Conversations, I want to explore the use of curiosity conversations as a tool to engage, connect, live, work, and respect people that have different opinions, beliefs, and choices than those of your own.

Curiosity Conversations is designed to make uncomfortable conversations comfortable. The  goal of applying curiosity is to respect and perhaps understand people with opinions, beliefs, and choices that are different than those of our own. Increasing the level of curiosity to your communication will improve the clarity of your intent, bring empathy to your engagement, and or redirect relationships to produce better outcomes. 

Note- I did not write support those opinions, beliefs, and choices. I wrote respect. 

There is a massive difference that seems to be misunderstood in our culture at this moment. People, including myself, misinterpret a lack of support for respect and react emotionally. You can have differing opinions and thoughts and still care and respect another person or people. 

A large part of the anger and hostility that thrives in this present moment in families, media, social media, and perhaps work is an emotional interpretation of these differences into weapons that harm others with our words and actions.  

All that one can control is themselves.

There has been so much noise, anger, and hostility. Our society’s ego needing to be right has led to louder shouting, disrespectful conversations, and living in a defensive state of mind- war, shouting, fighting.   Conversations have been replaced with shouting, petty name calling, ghosting of life-long friendships, cancel culture, lawsuits – actions that are destructive and not constructive.

For the past several months, anytime someone has asked me, “How are you?”, I have replied, “I am hopeful for peace soon so that we can begin to rebuild better faster.” Perhaps it is an odd statement to you. It’s a reflection of how our society needs to rebuild and heal from our past traumas. Not on anyone’s schedule or deadline but your own.

The goal of curiosity is to respect a person’s autonomy and, if possible, seek to understand how their past experiences led them to their current position which differs than your own.  By using curiosity, one can approach people with whom they share differences in a manner that is respectful of the other individual. Curiosity supports respect and not necessarily requires an individual to support those differences or change who they are in order  to fit the needs of others. Curiosity conversations can help you  learn to live together among our differences.

I hope that reading this month’s collection of articles can support you wherever you are on your journey to connect, engage, work, forgive, or resume relationships with people with different values, perspectives, choices, or opinions.

How to talk to people who voted for a different Presidential candidate?  In this article the author highlights the role of building bridges in conversation and to consciously avoid statements that can be easily interpreted as an attack or increasing dismissiveness. Applying curiosity allows us to listen to another person’s story and understand their experiences. When there is heightened tension in the air, curiosity can allow you to have difficult conversations with better outcoes.

What to do when your coworker brings up politics This article starts with the hypothesis about tension that is burning even before a conversation about politics can begin. The author demonstrates that in this current environment attempts at levity or a joke can easily ignite a person or set them off. In this article the article highlights how a person can use curiosity in their engagements to achieve better outcomes and avoid increasing tensions or discouraging colleagues to withdraw or shutdown.

Managing a team with conflicting political views  As politics has entered and polarized all parts of our lives, this article focuses on a return to self-discipline and awareness to set an example of understanding and appreciating different perspectives. This article highlights the importance of conversation that is natural, unprohibited, and also not forced to encourage respect, self-reflection, and understanding.

Let’s Talk This article explores the importance of learning to have hard conversations as a part of your life story. When you avoid or ignore hard conversations, you are avoiding life. The magic of life happens when we talk about what is important and often uncomfortable particularly within our families.

Can we talk about politics at work?  Every company culture has different implicit rules or an understanding of  what a good citizen means in your company. Company culture has already taken a beating  from this pandemic and other changes.  This article articulates the immense pressures in every organization and effectively reminds the reader of their own accountability to their own actions. The author addresses the difficulty and importance of having open and honest conversations and at the very least learn how say or act in a principal of,  “I don’t agree with you. I might think you’re wrong politically, but I care about you and I care about this work and I care about working together. And so I’m going to try to be bigger than this moment.’”

If you would like to further explore curiosity, I would love if you join me for my Curiosity Conversations course for 2020! Why not start 2021 with a fresh perspective! The series begins on November 30th and was designed for busy professionals. RSVP Here!

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