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.
In this video, Essential Partners practitioner Meg Griffiths offers four simple interventions you can take to shift a conversation from dysfunction and polarization to connection and understanding.
Click here to download the Constructive Cycle resource, a great reference point when you're preparing for a conversation, class, meeting, or dialogue that you know is going to be tough.