Set the Stage

  • With your own behavior… Interact with people before the discussion starts. During the discussion smile, speak respectfully, listen to what others say.
  • Start with ground rules about: listening to others, not interrupting, giving everyone a chance, mutual respect, speaking about yourself and your own experience, not speaking about others or people in general. (For example. say “I think…” don’t say “people always…” or “they say…” or “everyone says…”)
  • Use body language to convey that you are paying attention and that you are neutral about the content of the discussion. Face the person speaking, nod your head, keep an open body stance (no arms folded across your chest). Frowning, showing disapproval, shock or surprise or showing approval or agreement can shut off full discussion of a topic.