How many times have we inadvertently offended a person or group of persons because we simply aren’t thinking about how the things we say might strike them? Because we are in a hurry? Because we are writing or speaking while our emotions are high? Because we signal that we care less about them than we do about our being “right”? Conversation is hard work, especially the kind in which we truly connect with other persons. It can be scary to make ourselves vulnerable to the influence of others, to risk possibly having to change our perspectives—and maybe even admit that we are wrong or owe a big apology. Add in that the extra stress that arises when we talk about religious things for which the stakes feel so high and which has been presented to us as “the” truth of the matter.
In some ways, upsetting, mischaracterizing, or not imagining in advance one’s entire potential audience is inescapable. But there are definitely practices and reminders that can help keep our conversations from going sideways as often and with fewer deep and damaging effects to our public and personal relationships. Lindsay Hansen Park, Russell Osmond, and Jacob Hess are three great practitioners and thinkers about effective group and interpersonal conversation and relationships, and today they join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for this two-part episode in which they share stories of conversations gone well and poorly, as well as talk about best practices (and things to avoid!) for effective communication on both large and small scales.
Dialogue/Converation Aids and Groups:
Learn about the 2017 Essential Partners 3-Day “Power of Dialogue” workshops coming to Utah
The Village Square–Utah (with links to other groups in the U.S.)
Edward Kimball reading and interview:
Edward L. Kimball, “Spencer W Kimball and the Revelation on Priesthood,” BYU Studies 47, no. 2 (2008). Free Link
Edward L. Kimball, “Confession in LDS Doctrine and Practice,” BYU Studies 36:2 (1996-97). Free Link
Edward L. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (2005)
Interview, “Edward Kimball, Son of Spencer W. Kimball,” Mormon Stories Podcast, March 2010