Discover important values with these simple questions

Values remind us of what we consider to be important and are a guideline to determine which actions are good. Values say something about the needs, expectations and ideals we have. People have quite a few differences in the needs, expectations and ideals, and these differences often lead to discussions and conflicts. Discussions can keep on going because we don’t know exactly what the disagreement is. It’s not always easy to discover important values underlying the conflict. You could check … Read More

Being vulnerable in discussions

I must be strong. I shouldn’t show that what they said effects me, like when I find a comment unpleasant or offensive, because then I’m weak. I won’t ask any questions, because then they might think I ‘m stupid and don’t understand. And I definitely shouldn’t show when the other person is right. That will make me look like a fool. To convince others we must be strong. Clever. Sharp and alert. Quick. At least, that’s what we think. I … Read More

How to listen really well

Some time ago I received a newsletter from Danielle LaPorte in my mailbox: Listening is giving the other person the experience of being heard. Listening Is not waiting for your turn to talk. It’s not devising your case in between pauses. It’s not just about understanding what the other person means, necessarily And it’s certainly not about agreeing. Wait a minute… I repeat: It’s not just about understanding what the other person means, necessarily I had to really think about … Read More

What you can learn about persuasion from playing the piano

Last month I started playing the piano again after years. While I was playing (and practicing a lot), I realized how much you can learn from playing the piano about persuasion. How does that work? In order to play the piano, you must practice. If you want to learn a new music piece, you must practice. Everytime you learn a little piece of the whole piece. And you practice the same piece over and over again. And then you practice … Read More

Successful conversations. Is this fallacy blocking it?

In order to have successful conversations and to obtain more influence it is necessary that people listen to you and become convinced of your views. According to the argumentation theory you should be convinced by substantive arguments. You judge a position independently of the person. You shouldn’t judge a position based on the fact that someone seems unstable or unreliable, has personal or business interests, or because there’s an inconsistency between words and deeds. Suppose you have to argue that … Read More

The most common fallacies in sustainability discussions

Fallacies are arguments, defending a position, but with reasoning mistakes. The tricky thing about fallacies that they seem unrighteously strong and it is not always clear whether they are used or not. Fallacies make it difficult, and  lot of times impossible to find a solution to a disagreement. Everybody uses them – willingly or unwillingly. Many politicians and experts use fallacies. The problem with fallacies is that in the short term they do work, you can “win a debate” with … Read More

3 dichotomies which paralyze the road to sustainability

Some discussions about sustainability take so long that it seems that they will never come to an end. In such discussions you hear people repeating their views and arguments, but it doesn’t come to a solution or decision. The reason for discussions on sustainability get stuck is that views and arguments have certain underlying principles that can cause unbridgeable differences. Resolving these differences (also called dichotomies) is often difficult, because these principles are unknown or not formulated explicitly. If you’re … Read More

4 pitfalls in discussions

Sometimes you’re in a discussion with someone, but you notice that the discussion is going into a dead end, one that brings no solution to the problem you’re discussing. It’s uncomfortable because nothing is happening, and nothing is getting done. There are some familiar pitfalls in discussions, in which everyone falls and which definitely will block finding solutions. 1. Judging too quickly. Suppose you have an opinion about whether or not to abolish intensive animal farming. Personally, you are totally … Read More