How to Engage in a Conversation for Coming Together in Utah and America

Now that the first Summit has concluded, we continue to invite you and your family, friends, community, classmates, or group of any sort in Utah to be in conversation together around a topic that you feel is a difficult one but deeply important to Utah and the Nation.  Following is a conversation guide that we would ask you to follow if you would like to participate with us.

After you have completed your conversation, we invite you to share a summary and any insights gained with us on our custom networking platform available through the “Connect & Share” page here on this website.

Come together as a group and choose a topic for a conversation

  1. Choose a topic that your group has passion for as an important issue for Utah and America. This should involve an issue that needs to be resolved for the benefit of society. Examples are:

~How should we deal with immigration in America?

~How do we improve relations between law enforcement and the community?

~Under what conditions, if any, should a person with a terminal condition and low quality of life be able to legally end their life with medical assistance?

~How should we protect the quality of life of animals raised for food, if at all?

~Should gay and lesbian clubs be allowed in public high schools?

  1. It is important that there are initially deep disagreements in your group regarding the topic selected. If you don’t have much disagreement within the group enrich your group with people who hold different opinions for this conversation or choose a different topic.

Come together in mutually respectful conversation

  1. Each person in the group should have a chance to explain briefly how they feel and what they believe about the issue and should be encouraged to tell a personal story if they have one which has influenced their opinion.
  2. Everyone in the group should agree to listen respectfully, and initial questions are purely for purposes of clarification to better understand a person’s opinions and feelings, which questions should be expressed with civility and never to criticize or demean.

If you do not have time for an extended conversation this may be all the further that you get in the conversation.  Learning how to respectfully listen and understand is the important first step in a meaningful and effective civil conversation.

Come together to find common ground

  1. Explore if there are any shared values in the group relating to the topic of discussion. An example would be “no child should have to go to school in fear of physical or emotional abuse”, in a conversation about gay and lesbian clubs.  When people find that they have some shared values related to a topic,many more possibilities are opened up to finding ways to find agreement on topics when you identify common ground such as shared values.
  2. In this context explore if there is any agreement on approaches to making progress on this topic that would help bring Utah and America together on that issue.
  3. If your group has a trained facilitator that person may explore various approaches for finding common ground and achieving significant agreement on how to move forward.

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