Difficult dialogues provide a perfect example of a high-risk – high-reward situation. Due to the delicacy of raised topics, the discussions might become heated and personalized.
However, if properly handled, these discussions ultimately increase awareness and aid in understanding diversity. In order to avoid negative outcomes, several ground rules for difficult dialogues must be established before the discussion.
Firstly, participants must be open and honest to the possible extent; little progress can be made inside their comfort zone. Secondly, every person has a right to be heard, which must be respected. Thirdly, every person has something to teach and something to learn.
Fourthly, there should be an active participation in the dialogue. Fifthly, some things might be hard to hear, but it has to be done. Sixthly, there is no place for judging other person’s feelings. Seventhly, participants must avoid personalization and remain objective and observant. Lastly, no one should speak for somebody else; everyone’s opinion must be respected.
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