Intentional communication

Talk That Connects

At NOW House, our teachers, facilitators, classes, groups and other activities are under the influence of these Agreements for Courageous Conversations. We invite everyone in our community into these agreements so that you, us, our spaces and efforts can explore and work together through the challenges we have in life. We don’t have to do it alone.


TRY IT ON: LEAN INTO DISCOMFORT

Be willing to be disturbed. We are all in process. Be willing to “try on” new ideas or new ways of doing things that might be unfamiliar or not your preference or habit. Challenge yourself to contribute even if it is not perfectly formulated. Be willing to grow.

PRACTICE SELF FOCUS

Attend to and speak about your own experiences and responses. Use “I” statements. Do not speak for a whole group or express assumptions about the experience of others.

 

UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INTENT AND IMPACT

Try to understand and acknowledge impact. Denying the impact of something said by focusing on intent is often more destructive than the initial interaction. Respect each other’s experiences and feelings by taking responsibility for the effects of your words. On the other side, if you have a strong reaction to something, let the group know. Be open to dialogue.

 

WORK TO RECOGNIZE YOUR PRIVILEGES

Use this space to recognize and investigate your privileges (for example: class, gender, sexual orientation, ability). Honor the different experiences that we all bring to this space.

 

BREAK IT DOWN

Use simple language and background information when necessary. Ask for clarification if needed.

 

PRACTICE “BOTH / AND”

When speaking, substitute “and” for “but.” This practice acknowledges and honors multiple realities.

 

REFRAIN FROM BLAMING OR SHAMING SELF & OTHERS

Practice giving skillful feedback.

 

ASK PERMISSION & CHALLENGE WITH CARE

Ask permission to challenge someone’s view or to follow-up on specific remarks after the meeting. If they agree to have their view challenged, then find ways to respectfully challenge their view and be open to challenges of your own views. Think about how to question ideas without personal attacks. 

 

RIGHT TO PASS

You can say “I pass” if you don’t wish to speak.

 

MOVE UP / MOVE BACK

Encourage full participation by all present. Take note of who is speaking and who is not. If you tend to speak often, consider “moving back” and vice versa. Share speaking time and try to speak after others who have not spoken.

 

PRACTICE MINDFUL LISTENING

Use your energy to listen to what is said before thinking about how to respond. Try to avoid planning what you’ll say as you listen to others. Be willing to be surprised, to learn something new. Listen with your whole self. Notice when defensiveness and denial arise.

 

NOTICE AND NAME GROUP DYNAMICS IN THE MOMENT

We are all responsible for this space. Be aware of how others are responding or not responding. Ask for a “time out” or dialogue if needed.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY

Share the message, not the messenger.

 

 

Adapted From:

www.eastbaymeditation.org

www.visions-inc.org

www.awarela.org