Educator Irshad Manji emphasizes that diversity is a fact of life, and it should be harnessed to unite society rather than divide it. Recognizing that humans tend to react defensively to opposing views, she offers five key skills to promote constructive conversations.
These include 1) taking deep breaths to facilitate rational thinking, 2) intentionally establishing common ground, 3) genuinely inquiring about the other person’s perspective, 4) actively listening to learn rather than to win, and 5) encouraging further dialogue by asking “Tell me more.”
Adopting these skills can lead to healthier outcomes in contentious conversations and foster collaboration. Ultimately, an individual’s ability to engage in productive discussions depends on their motivation. It is essential to reflect on one’s intentions, choosing between a genuine desire to solve problems or a need to assert moral superiority. Only by making the right choice can we hope to harness the power of diversity for the greater good.