People in conversation

The Constructive Cycle of Conversation


Communication patterns are self-perpetuating cycles. Every choice made during a conversation invites a certain kind of response. The key to shifting a conversation away from dysfunction is to understand the cycle and take steps to disrupt it.

Polarizing cycles of communication leverage a difference in values, beliefs, or identities to generate mistrust, animosity, and binary thinking. Examples abound. You’re either with us or you’re against us. You’re either a real member of this community or you’re a threat.

Constructive communication cycles, on the other hand, create the conditions to hold these important differences without the same kind of antagonism. Constructive cycles encourage complex mutual understanding, personal relationships, and a sense of shared community.

Crafted from years of work on some of the most difficult conversations, this resource will help you use powerful tools to have a more connected, meaningful, and constructive conversation—useful for everything from one-on-one conversations to formal dialogues.

Interested in learning more about EP's approach, Reflective Structured Dialogue? Consider registering for an Essential Partners workshop or contact us for a free consultation.



John Sarrouf
Katie Hyten