Difficult Conversation Reflection
Using the reflective listening skills lean class, students will engage in a challenging conversation with someone outside the class. The conversation should occur with someone you feel diametrically opposed to on a topic, for example, someone who voted differently than you in the election, a friend or acquaintance who disagrees with you on a heated issue, a loved one who feels differently than you on an important matter, etc. While students will determine who to have the conversation with and
what the topic is, students should take care to abide by these specific parameters:
- The ultimate goal of this assignment is to understand where the other person is coming from. As we recall, reflective listening ultimately boils down to listening to understand.
- While at the end of the conversation you may not agree on the topic at hand with the other person, it’s important that you gain an understanding of their perspective through the conversation.
- This assignment is not to participate in a “debate” with the other person. It’s not your role to convince them of your point of view — you’re trying to understand where they are coming from and how they came to their values and beliefs.
After you have the conversation, take time to reflect on how the conversation went. How challenging was it to use the reflective listening skills? What worked well for you? What could use improvement in the future? Were there any moments where you almost lost your cool? How did you get back on track to using the reflective listening skills? From your perspective, how did the conversation go overall? How did the other person seem to respond to your use of reflective listening skills? What have you learned from this exercise?
Submissions should be typewritten — word processed — and between 4 to 5 pages double spaced with 12 point font. Papers will not be graded on grammar or spelling, but clarity and attention to these details would be most helpful.