Change the conversation. Change the results.

Learning Conversation Guideline 4:  Hold Space for Difference 

Conflict seems frightening to many of us.  We tend to dredge up memories of pain and humiliation – of being on the losing end.

Yet, if responded to effectively, conflict is a wonderful thing.  It represents our uniqueness as individuals and leads to a deeper and expanded understanding.

To “Hold Space for Difference” in conversations is:

  • Acknowledging all voices to seek new ideas and hearing from those who might not otherwise speak.

  • Looking for ideas that oppose our own with the intent of learning how we might think and move forward differently.

  • Asking questions about the person’s viewpoint instead of responding with criticism or dismissing the other person’s idea.

As you practice Holding Space for Difference you will notice a richness to your thinking and conversations and a level of creativity that perhaps you had not previously experienced. You will be more open to the ideas of others and, as a result, will find more ideas being shared with you.

The guideline does not mean we have to agree with what the person says.  It does mean everyone in the conversation needs to feel that what they have to say will be listened to, acknowledged and responded to respectfully. 

 

As we shared in our previous article, "Learning Conversation Guideline 3:  Speak from the Heart," there are many ways you can ‘Acknowledge and Respond Respectfully’ (ARR).  Here are several examples:

 

  • “I’m wondering what is underneath your thinking.”

  • “Interesting way of seeing that.”

  •  “From what you’re saying, I’m hearing this …”

  • “What I’m hearing you say is this … Am I right?”

  • “Can you explain your thinking behind that statement?”

  • “What obstacles do you think will surface as a result of … ?”

  • “Does anyone see that in the same way? Does anyone see that differently?”

As you practice "Holding Space for Difference," you will notice a richness to your thinking and conversations and a level of creativity that perhaps you had not previously experienced. You will be more open to the ideas of others and, as a result, will find more ideas being shared with you. And, what you may have experienced as patience or tolerance will grow to a deeper respect for, and interest in, the ideas of others.

Contact us to learn more about the “5 Guidelines for Learning Conversations” and how we can help you and your team improve the quality of conversations and relationships to achieve quality results. 

© 1996 - 2019  Jorgensen Learning Center

Landrum, South Carolina | United States

864.704.9723

julie@gojlc.com

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