Conversations of Change – Part 2
4 September 2020
Previously we detailed the importance of having open-minded conversations to expand the bounds of one’s mind. With our mind-expanding though, we mustn’t illustrate just the importance of any conversation, as we should all be able to see that not all conversations lead to productive expansions of the mind. Rather there is a specific focus point we believe conversations must become centered around if we are to build a better society for all human beings. These conversations must revolve around the problems that are facing our species and viable solutions to solving those problems. While writing these words, I can already hear the dissenters and their qualms with this concept. I don’t want to discuss the serious stuff, it’s depressing, I can’t do anything to change the way things are so what is the point are all general tag lines I have heard many times when presenting others with a conversation of this nature. If you have read this far, even if you have said or felt these same sentiments in the past, I am willing to guess that you are at least open-minded to overcoming the difficulties of conducting a conversation of change. Within this article, we will review ways in which we feel that we can inspire further conversations of change.
When first contemplating how we can inspire, spark, and engage in conversations of change we must first realize that there is no one size fits all rule to apply to all people. Though there are overlap and similarities between many groups of human beings, the individualistic nature of existence means that each human being has different perspectives and different levels of willingness to engage in a conversation of change. Within these differences, we must recognize a need for a difference in approaches if we are to truly succeed in conducting a conversation of change with another person.
As the Human Civilization Reformation Coalition, we have distinguished four different types of human beings when it comes to one’s sentiment and interest levels regarding a conversation of change. The qualitative measurements we use to distinguish these different levels is firstly based on how active or passive they may be in a conversation of change. The second is based on their feelings regarding conversations of change themselves, and generally more broadly how optimistic or pessimistic they feel about a conversation of change and the state of humanity. We will use the terms insider and outsider to illustrate this second measurement when defining the four types of engagement levels to conversations of change. With these two measurements though we can imagine four quadrants representing the pairing of each possibility. It is important to note that the following descriptors we provide for these different pairings are not perfect and there will be people who fall within different quadrants at different times in their lives and even those who transition between various quadrants throughout the day. One variable that can dictate this transition that some experience can be explained by the specific topic of the conversation of change itself. For example, someone may be extremely interested and concerned with solving environmental problems causing climate change, yet has no direct interest in another topic, perhaps like prison reform. Regardless of these nuances though, we will explore each quadrant as well as strategies for how to engage in a conversation of change with a person in each quadrant.
First, we have active insiders. When it comes to the active insiders we can think of these human beings as those who are interested in having conversations of change and willing to engage in those conversations. Though the specific topics that an active insider may desire to converse about can fluctuate, their willingness level to participate in a conversation of change is always the highest of the four quadrants. For those that fall within this quadrant, there is not much work to be done in getting a person of this nature to engage in a conversation of change. Generally, the biggest obstacle when dealing with an active insider is that these are people who are most willing to engage in conversation, dependent upon their viewpoint compared to the viewpoints you hold, there is potential for the conversation to turn into an unproductive debate, with each side unwilling to look at the topic from any other perspective other than their own due to an intrinsic knowledge they have obtained. Ensuring a productive conversation of change with active insiders is best accomplishable when clear expectations are set around the conversation’s purpose, finding a viable solution towards the problem or problems being discussed in that specific conversation of change.
Next, we review the quadrant containing the passive insiders. The passive insiders are human beings who are interested in the topics discussed within a conversation of change yet are not as open and willing to engage in the conversation. Human beings who fall within the passive insider’s quadrant are those who are either passive by nature or assume a passive stance on the topics that are discussed within a conversation of change. This passiveness to engage in the conversation despite an interest in the topics themselves can also be derived from a fear of being politically incorrect or bombarded by the others in a conversation of change due to conflicting perceptions regarding the topic of the discussion. When approaching a passive insider and trying to engage them in a conversation of change, the biggest detriment that can hinder the conversation from occurring and intensifies the passiveness of the person is if we discuss topics to a degree that does not allow them to present their perceptions on the subject. When it comes to a passive insider, the best approach is to allow them space to speak and present their ideas, preferably first, which in turn may help dissipate their passiveness around the specific subject of the conversation of change, and encourage them to participate more willingly in both the current conversation as well as future ones.
We now shift towards the first of the outsider regions, the passive outsider. The passive outsider is to be thought of as a human being who is not interested in the topics discussed in a conversation of change and are not willing to engage in the conversation. With a passive outsider, their disinterest in the topics themselves is in direct correlation to their unwillingness to partake in the conversations of change and vice versa. Essentially becoming a vicious cycle, it can seem hard or almost pointless to engage with a passive outsider. We must remember though that human beings can shift from one quadrant to another depending on the specific timing in their life. With a passive outsider, the best approach to engaging a passive outsider in a conversation of change is to first just begin conversations that are outside of the scope of a conversation of change. This at the very least can help in shifting their passiveness in engaging in conversation, of any type, towards a more active status. When empowered with a willingness to at least engage in conversation, you can begin to understand a person’s reasons for not being interested in the topics that fall within a conversation of change, and potentially persuade them to become more interested.
The last quadrant that we explore is active outsiders. The best descriptor for a human being who falls within this quadrant is one who is willing to engage in a conversation of change yet sees the subject matter of the conversation as irrelevant or unimportant. With an active outsider, they will gladly join the conversation to state their sentiment on the topic of the conversation, yet a pessimism regarding any change materializing regarding the topic will almost always shine through. With an active outsider, we are looking to accomplish the same as with the passive outsider, persuade them to become interested in conversations of change. The difference though is their willingness to participate in the conversation. With this willingness though, it can present difficulties due to the fact their willingness may be solidified from a sense of faith in their perspective on the subject being discussed. The best approach to a conversation of change with an active outsider is to let them elaborate on why they are disinterested in the topics discussed within a conversation of change. Even if you are unable to sway that one specific active outsider towards a more optimistic mindset on conducting a conversation of change, it can at the very least help you understand the perspective of the outsider quadrants more comprehensively to at some point persuade another.
We hope this helps you engage and inspire others to participate in their very own Conversation of Change. Please share your best practices for conducting conversations of change in the comments below.
Until next time, I am Jeff McCarty and I just want to thank you for your time in reading. If you enjoyed this post, please share this with someone you think would enjoy it. Find the Human Civilization Reformation Coalition on Facebook for more content as well. Looking forward to seeing you next post. Thanks again.