Talking Turkey at Thanksgiving Dinner

Tough conversations on controversial topics don’t have to be a disaster.


John Stonestreet

Tough conversations on controversial topics don’t have to be a disaster, even if had over holiday visits and meals. The key to civil and productive conversations is to ask good questions. The right question can turn monologues into dialogues, surface-level discussions into deeper ones, and might even open a closed mind or two. 

Here are six questions I’ve found helpful for creating good conversations: 

First: What do you mean by that? The definition of words shapes debate. Don’t assume you are always using the same dictionary. 

Second: How do you know that is true? Assertions aren’t arguments, and this question takes you beyond comparing opinions. 

Third: Where did you get this information?  

Fourth: How did you come to this conclusion? Everyone has a story. 

And the last two: What if you’re wrong? And, What if you’re right? Ideas have consequences. These questions take ideas to their logical conclusion. Oh, and the best question: What are you thankful for? 

From all of us at the Colson Center, Happy Thanksgiving. 

This Point is republished from 11.28.19. 


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