Guiding Difficult Group Discussions

WHEN YOU WANT TO discuss a sensitive topic in a group, the Talker-Listener Card helps prevent, or at least, reduce the level of conflict.

So often when discussing difficult issues, participants don’t feel heard, understood, or valued. And that hurts. The hurt produces anger, voices get raised, discussion turns to argument, thinking gets fuzzy and defensive, and behavior becomes aggressive. Then arguments escalate into name calling, questioning motives, straining working relationships, and ending friendships.

If a group wants to discuss a tough topic cooperatively, introduce the TLC process. This method is similar to the Native American “talking stick” tradition. While one person holds the talking stick, the others listen and wait in silence to show respect for the person, their time, and their comments.

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