Skills for Bridging the Divide

What is a Skills for Bridging the Divide Workshop?

In our current polarized political environment, many people avoid or dread political conversations with friends or family members whose politics differ from their own. They worry, rightly so, that any attempts at political discussions will devolve into arguments and acrimony, and result in hurt feelings or anger.

Braver Angels Skills for Bridging the Divide Workshops teach skills for having respectful conversations that clarify differences, search for common ground, and affirm the importance of the relationship. They also give participants a safe environment to practice those skills.

In addition to the standard skills workshop, Braver Angels also holds special skills workshops: one designed especially for Reds, and the other designed for Blues.

Skills for Bridging the Divide workshops are approximately 2 ½ hours long.

Who Can Attend?

Anyone interested in having better conversations with people on the other side of the political aisle.  Unlike a Red/Blue workshop, Skills for Bridging the Divide does not require even numbers of Reds and Blues.  These workshops can also be larger, up to 50 or so people.

Skills for Bridging the Divide is ideal for organizations like communities of worship, social clubs or educational institutions who want to reduce or avoid the divisiveness of political polarization.

Goals

  • To learn about the perspectives, feelings, and experiences of someone you care about who differs from
    you politically
  • To have a sense of satisfaction about how you conveyed your own perspective, feelings, and
    experiences
  • To discover some common ground, if it’s there

The Process

After a brief introduction and a discussion about what can go wrong in political discussions, participants in a skills workshop can expect to learn the following:

  1. Tone setting skills
  2. Listening skills
  3. Speaking skills
  4. Handling difficult moments

Participants will also get opportunities to practice these skills.

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