Sunday, August 5, 2018

Using a Story to Frame & Structure Space - It Works

Using a Story to Frame and Structure Space
*It Works*

5 August 2018
Written by Jeramee Sikorski
Edited by Lisa Frank

     This installment on communication skills focuses on being persuasive in political conversations when speaking to people who are independent or politically on the fence.  Previously, in “Trump's Removal Must Be Political, Not Psychological,” we pointed out that we must be strategic in how we approach political discussions.  We followed up with “Calming the Storm,” where we explored the nature of mental defenses and what it takes to be persuasive.  Then we looked at the specific technique of Socratic questioning as a way to put those values into practice in Socrates Strives Forward.  Many readers have asked whether these hippie concepts of giving space to a person and practicing empathy with active listening are realistically possible?

     We have been trying to put these values into practice even before those earlier pieces were published.  A few weeks ago, one of our authors had a good discussion with a friend who seems to be on the fence politically, but maybe leaning a little towards Trump.  Instead of breaking out the knives, he tried to put those values from the articles above into practice.  Below is the conversation with notes on how he managed the conversation to make a thoughtful, reflective atmosphere.  Yes - it works. It just takes practice.

     A quick note on relevance and deflection.  The author notes several times where his friend began to change the subject, which happens in normal conversation.  The way that we talk to each other politically, though, has eroded in America lately.  We have gone from politicos trying to spin a story and tell their best version of it to bait-and-switch deflection.  While Trump is the master of this dark art, it is infecting everyone.  The result seems to be an inability for people to stick to any single topic for even a second while talking.  We even see it in conversations within our own political camp, and we’ve mistakenly done so ourselves on occasion.  The author uses a story as a way to anchor into facts about the problems facing the migrants on the border.  This keeps the conversation focused.  He refers back to skipped questions and news stories when needed to keep the discussion based in a common, reality-based set of facts.  In doing so, the goal was to keep the discussion focused, reflective, and civilbut not to be overly domineering.

     But, is it practical? Can we really make a difference this way?


     Yes. As argued in Calming the Storm -- A Prelude to a Way Forward we only need to persuade a small fraction of Trump voters in order to put a check on his power.  He won by only 0.7% of the vote in the 3 states, MI, WI, and PA that gave him an electoral college victory.  That’s less than one person out of 100.  Can we try to make a space for civil conversation with just one out of every hundred people that we might disagree with?

Here's that annotated conversation (posted in 2 sizes because I'm not that technologically talented.  

Thank you for coming to engage with our ideas.  
If you find these ideas helpful, then please consider sharing them to help others.
There are easy sharing buttons located at the top of the page.

If Trump's cruelty is getting a little too heavy, you can take a look at some of our recent satire pieces below.


No comments:

Post a Comment