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It's Crucial to Follow Ground Rules for Controversial Discussion

Kulbhushaan Raghuvanshi Nov 3, 2018
It is human nature to share our views and opinions with others, but there are times when discussions get out of hand, especially when the topic is controversial and/or sensitive.
Discussing topics on which people are generally divided, such as religion, politics, social responsibilities, war, terrorism, patriotism, mass media, drugs, and national beliefs, often lead to heated and quarrelsome discussions. It is therefore necessary for us to follow some guidelines while conversing on these topics, so we don't hurt anyone's sentiments.

Discussion Etiquette

In order to have an informative, fruitful, and satisfying discussion, every participant needs to follow a certain code of etiquette. Given here, are some points that will help better your discussion skills.
  • At the beginning of your meeting, introduce yourself and ask others to do the same.
  • Respect the views, opinions, and ideas put forward by others.
  • Speak slowly and in a way that is audible to all the participants.
  • Never interrupt the speaker, if you wish to contradict a point, ask the chairperson.
  • Use plain and simple English, and avoid using long sentences.
  • If you missed out or didn't understand a point, ask the concerned person to repeat or explain it. Sometimes, you may not be the only one who didn't understand.
  • Avoid using short forms, to avoid confusion.
  • Be polite in your speech; if you disagree about something, concentrate on the matter you're discussing and not on the person.
  • Always be punctual and switch off your cell phone during the meeting.
  • If you are not comfortable with something, have a word with the person in-charge.

Conflict Resolution

Resolving conflicts can be stressful, sometimes even frustrating and embarrassing. But let's see what we can do to ensure that conflicts, if occurred, are then resolved in a positive and fair manner.
  • Don't lose your cool, even if you are feeling hurt.
  • Avoid name calling, abusive language, and put downs.
  • Don't lose your temper if you are not getting a chance to speak.
  • Show an effort by responding to points put forward by others. If participants feel acknowledged and understood, they would be more willing to cooperate towards a common solution.
  • Be direct, open, and honest in your points.
  • Don't make judgments on assumptions, rumors, or speculations.
  • Always rely on personal observations that can be asserted by some proof.
  • Always focus on the solutions rather than differences.
  • Make an approach that finds common interest for an effective solution.