This week I’ve had some conversations about conversations; how they can sometimes turn into an emotional, adversarial debate. The apparent certainty of our views, defending them, attacking others’ views and pursuing our one and only solution rarely resolves any conflict.
Using dialogue rather than debate can be a more effective approach. It is possible to hold strong views, while being open to re-evaluating them. In any conflict situation, it is important to understand the other views and work together to craft a solution that works for all sides.
Today we saw evidence of how a debate can go wrong at the Culloden Battlefield. In 1746, a long, protracted debate had become so polarised and attritional that it culminated in the last pitched battle on British soil. In less than one hour around 1,600 men were killed. Walking around the fields, you can still feel a sense of melancholy in the air.
Next time you encounter conflict, engage in dialogue. It is worth the hard work it can often take to reconsider your views and think about how they may work with the opposing ones around you. The chances are that dialogue will achieve a lasting solution that suits everyone, while increasing trust, respect and understanding.
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