How to engage with people who have different opinions

English Level: B1 🇨🇦

Full Transcript

“I’m telling you, the government is out to get us all,” Tobias said, his eyes glued to the screen of his laptop. His friends sat around him in disbelief.

“Tobias, you’ve watched way too many conspiracy theory videos,” Sarah said. “You’re starting to sound like a crazy person.”

Jonas didn’t attack Tobias for believing what he believed. He listened and asked questions. How did you come to this conclusion? What are your sources? Is there an alternative perspective on these events? All the while remaining calm and respectful.

Tobias didn’t immediately change his views, but he soon started questioning whether his conclusions were true. He began doing more research, looking at both sides of the argument. And slowly but surely, he realized that maybe his beliefs had been misguided all along.

How do you react when you meet someone with a completely different worldview? Do you resort to name-calling and personal attacks? “You’re racist. You’re an idiot.” I don’t know anyone who ever changed their mind because somebody called them stupid. But through listening and asking honest questions, we create the possibility for change. You can call me naive for saying this, but I don’t want to become a cynic who believes that people are evil and will always do the wrong thing.

If you want to learn how to ask better questions and become a good listener, consider taking my communication course Speaking Mastery. Message me for more information.

Vocabulary

  1. Disbelief (noun): Unglaube
  2. Conspiracy theory (noun): Verschwörungstheorie
  3. Attack (noun): Angriff
  4. Source (noun): Quelle
  5. Remain (verb): verbleiben
  6. Immediately (adv.): unverzüglich
  7. Conclusion (noun): Abschluss
  8. Misguided (adj.): fehlgeleitet
  9. Worldview (noun): Weltanschauung
  10. Resort to (verb): auf etw. zurückgreifen
  11. Name-calling (noun): Beschimpfung

Phrases

  1. To be out to get someone: be determined to punish or harm someone, especially in retaliation.
  2. To be glued to a screen: to be unable to stop watching something.
  3. Slowly but surely: achieving the desired results gradually and reliably rather than quickly and spectacularly.

Question to consider

How do you react when people talk about conspiracy theories?

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