Tag Archives: democracy

The 4 Main Things to know about political conversation

With paid political speech drowning citizens’ voices in the halls of government and the news media, opting out of civic conversation in our own communities, with our friends and neighbors, is no longer a patriotic option. Here are four basic pointers on the way to productive, civil political conversation. Continue reading

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Jeff Smith: The common ground is always there.

Jeff Smith has more experience in political conversation than most of us ever will. He believes that our neighborhood political conversations are better focus groups than those manufactured by political consultants, and that in those informal focus groups we can come to understand why our neighbors believe what they believe and—yes—counteract misinformation. His advice for productive political conversation: Establish trust by listening to find the common ground. Continue reading

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What are they trying to do? Understanding motives in political conversation

When talking politics, it’s useful to be aware of the participants’ motives (both your own and your conversation partner’s). This blog post explores how to identify and respond to the types of motives people often bring to political conversations. Continue reading

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Political conversation in action: Once spoken to, Larry Orr now speaks for peace.

Larry Orr was not born to speak for peace. One of his first, strongest memories is of being a 3-year-old playing in his back yard in Muscatine, Iowa when two P-38 fighters flew over at treetop level.  Their deafening noise … Continue reading

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George Lakoff recommends…

George Lakoff was in Wisconsin for the past few days lecturing at several different events. While I didn’t hear him say anything that wasn’t in at least one of his books and don’t agree with everything he teaches, the question-and-answer … Continue reading

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If you are not a paid pundit, don’t talk like one.

Main point: It’s useful to learn about ‘messaging’ and ‘framing’ for one-way communications like letters to the editor, and so that we know when polished political spin is being used to manipulate us. But speaking in the phrases recommended by … Continue reading

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Stitching up democracy

I have been reading, studying, practicing, and blogging about interpersonal political conversation techniques for going on a year now. Talking politics: If we don’t learn how, our American civic discourse will consist of nothing but political messages crafted on Madison Avenue … Continue reading

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