We are living in a tense nation. 2020 has been an unprecedented year with a pandemic, civil unrest, and numerous natural disasters. Arguably we are more divided than ever on just about every issue at hand. This has led to hate, anger, and lashing out at others who have different views.

Having different perspectives and opinions is inevitable, but it is possible to calmly communicate with those who are different from you. This takes mindfulness, empathy, and realization that your opinion is not necessarily the “right” perspective.

Just by reading this article you are taking the first steps in gaining the knowledge on how to have a civil conversation with those with different views. Take the time to absorb these tips and put them into practice.

How to Communicate With Someone Who Has Radically Different Views

Treat Others How You Would Like to Be Treated

A duh, right? We have been told this since we were children, yet as adults we seem to forget to treat others how we would want to be treated. Would you like to feel belittled and interrupted mid conversation? I don’t think you would. Don’t make others feel that way either.

Your Tone Matters

What tone are your conveying in your voice? It matters. Your tone has the power to diffuse or escalate a situation. Raising your voice will never help a conversation.

Acknowledge the Difference

Acknowledge differences and accept that you cannot control others. The only thing in life you can control is how you choose to react.

Seek to Understand

Make it your priority to understand all sides of an issue. Ask genuine questions and most important truly listen to the answer. Let the other person know you are curious to understand their side.

Active Listening

Like mentioned above, listen to what the other person has to say. Don’t think about how you want to respond. Don’t think about how the other person is wrong. Stop thinking and just listen. Once it is your turn to speak, acknowledge what they have said by reiterating to ensure you understood correctly.

Non Verbals

93% of communication is non verbal. This means that your body language and facial expressions say more than your words do. Avoid crossing your arms, making faces, shaking your head no, etc.

You Can’t Change People

Remember that you can’t change people. As much as you might like to change other people’s views you simply cannot. The mentality of being “right” simply does not work since everyone believes their perspective is the “right” one.

Language Matters

Respond with statements that acknowledge what the other person is saying, such as, “I understand where you are coming from because (insert specific example from the other person), but have you considered (insert example).”

Offer Resources

Explain the importance of different resources to fully understand the issue and where they can find them.

Communicating Differences

Communicating with someone who has radically different views can be extremely uncomfortable. You have undoubtably found yourself in heated arguments over different views because it is natural to want to prove your opinion is correct. Start to change that way of thinking. Be more open and mindful to other’s perspectives. Make it your goal to have a conversation rather than prove you are right.

Put into practice the tips from above and you will find that you can start to have calm conversations even with those who have very different opinions.