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Countering Political Polarization: A Conversation for Trust and Understanding

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This three-step exercise uses intentional listening and questions of curiosity to shift how the participants feel about joining political conversations, particularly around a major election. It engenders trust between the participants and encourages the possibility of healthy conversation in the midst of polarization.

This exercise is designed to be used in one-on-one conversations, but it can also be used in small group settings. For instance, you can use it to engage a group of stakeholders with similar views and/or identities as you map a community. You could also use this to gain buy-in from people who are skeptical of talking politics in a team, organization, or community.

In addition, the exercise is intended to help you engage meaningfully with people who have avoided or been on the outside of conversations in the past. It lets participants begin to feel heard and taken seriously—an important first step toward healthier conversations across differences in your community.

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