How to have conversations with people who have a different opinion than you

There is no shortage of topics that bring strong opinions, especially as we get closer to the Presidential election, continue to deal with COVID-19, and navigate working and learning from home. With strong opinions can come difficult conversations. 

Lisa Mitchell, Communications Expert & Founder of Power Body Language, shares a few tips to navigating conversations with people who have different opinions than you. 

1. Assume Good

It’s OK that people
have strong opinions. It’s OK that their opinion may be different than yours.
It doesn’t mean that they are incapable or unwilling to engage in meaningful
dialogue so enter into those interactions assuming you both have good
intentions for productive conversation. Most people, at their core, really just
want to feel seen, heard, and valued. 

Different Doesn’t Have To Mean Bad 

Conversations, by
nature, are meant for sharing information and data points. They can drive you
towards a common goal or at the least, towards a shared understanding.
Sometimes you may find yourself posted up on the polar opposite side of another
person’s outlook and that doesn’t mean that either of are wrong or bad, it can
just mean that you both are firmly rooted in your beliefs. 

There doesn’t have to
be a winner and loser, there can just be genuine listening, thoughtful
consideration, and respect of each other throughout the interaction. 

3. Show appreciation
for the person even if you disagree with their opinion or viewpoint. 

Sometimes, if the topic
is heated enough, it’s necessary to challenge yourself to separate your
feelings for the person from your feelings about their opinion of a particular
topic. It can be as simple as saying something like, “I don’t think we are
going to find common ground on this topic but I appreciate you taking the time
to share your thoughts with me.” 

You don’t have to fight
every battle on differing opinions and you don’t have to disrespect or discount
the person offering the differing opinion when you can’t find common

 Visit or connect on Instagram at @lisamitchellindy.