playlist

The art of finding common ground

Disagreements, miscommunications, opposing beliefs — oh my! Whether at work, with strangers or over family dinner, these talks will help you traverse the rugged terrain of heated conversation and map out the best ways to see eye-to-eye.

  1. 14:56
    Julia Dhar How to disagree productively and find common ground

    Some days, it feels like the only thing we can agree on is that we can't agree — on anything. Drawing on her background as a world debate champion, Julia Dhar offers three techniques to reshape the way we talk to each other so we can start disagreeing productively and finding common ground — over family dinners, during work meetings and in our national conversations.

  2. 10:52
    Dylan Marron Empathy is not endorsement

    Digital creator Dylan Marron has racked up millions of views for projects like "Every Single Word" and "Sitting in Bathrooms With Trans People" — but he's found that the flip side of success online is internet hate. Over time, he's developed an unexpected coping mechanism: calling the people who leave him insensitive comments and asking a simple question: "Why did you write that?" In a thoughtful talk about how we interact online, Marron explains how sometimes the most subversive thing you can do is actually speak with people you disagree with, not simply at them.

  3. 9:09
    Eve Pearlman How to lead a conversation between people who disagree

    In a world deeply divided, how do we have hard conversations with nuance, curiosity, respect? Veteran reporter Eve Pearlman introduces "dialogue journalism": a project where journalists go to the heart of social and political divides to support discussions between people who disagree. See what happened when a group that would have never otherwise met — 25 liberals from California and 25 conservatives from Alabama — gathered to talk about contentious issues. "Real connection across difference: this is a salve that our democracy sorely needs," Pearlman says.

  4. 11:37
    Julia Galef Why you think you're right — even if you're wrong

    Perspective is everything, especially when it comes to examining your beliefs. Are you a soldier, prone to defending your viewpoint at all costs — or a scout, spurred by curiosity? Julia Galef examines the motivations behind these two mindsets and how they shape the way we interpret information, interweaved with a compelling history lesson from 19th-century France. When your steadfast opinions are tested, Galef asks: "What do you most yearn for? Do you yearn to defend your own beliefs or do you yearn to see the world as clearly as you possibly can?"

  5. 15:21
    Özlem Cekic Why I have coffee with people who send me hate mail

    Özlem Cekic's email inbox has been full of hate mail since 2007, when she won a seat in the Danish Parliament — becoming the first female Muslim to do so. At first she just deleted the emails, dismissing them as the work of fanatics, until one day a friend made an unexpected suggestion: to reach out to the hate mail writers and invite them to meet for coffee. Hundreds of "dialogue coffee" meetings later, Cekic shares how face-to-face conversation can be one of the most powerful forces to disarm hate — and challenges us all to engage with people we disagree with.

  6. 13:53
    Teresa Bejan Is civility a sham?

    What exactly is civility, and what does it require? In a talk packed with historical insights, political theorist Teresa Bejan explains how civility has been used as both the foundation of tolerant societies and as a way for political partisans to silence and dismiss opposing views. Bejan suggests that we should instead try for "mere civility": the virtue of being able to disagree fundamentally with others without destroying the possibility of a common life tomorrow. (This talk contains mature language.)

  7. 11:44
    Celeste Headlee 10 ways to have a better conversation

    When your job hinges on how well you talk to people, you learn a lot about how to have conversations — and that most of us don't converse very well. Celeste Headlee has worked as a radio host for decades, and she knows the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 useful rules for having better conversations. "Go out, talk to people, listen to people," she says. "And, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed."