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real life

HOLD THE EGGSHELLS:

INGREDIENTS FOR TACKLING CONTROVERSIAL CONVERSATIONS By Dr. Asha Fields Brewer

SEX MONEY RELIGION

M

oney, politics, religion, sex. Are you uncomfortable? Good, then you already have your first ingredient for tackling any taboo topic: an opinion. Educational institutions train us to explore our opinions. Public institutions train us to filter them. And workplace institutions train us to ignore them altogether. However, our individual perspectives and beliefs determine how we collectively embark upon our lived experiences. Why, then, are we unable to communicate about these issues with the societies in which we coexist? We are permitted to discuss inconsequential topics, such as our view on who killed whom in this week’s most popular show, but if we call the Second Amendment into question at a family gathering, we have suddenly become the criminal ourselves. Taboo topics such as the right to bear arms and one’s stance on faith in the school system are the very elements that shape our dynamic society. Therefore, we must create a space of transparency where we can dissect and digest these concepts and more.

30  tallahassee woman • june/july 2016

POLITICS

In order to do this effectively, we must exercise caution with the next ingredient: body language. It is usually not what you say, but how you say it that can swiftly turn a conversation from a healthy dialogue into a heated argument. It is okay to be committed to your viewpoint. However, aggressive mannerisms should be mindfully reduced, so as not to establish an offense-defense environment. Keep your conversations at a warm simmer by avoiding pointed fingers, balled-up fists and sudden movements. In addition, remain seated when making your points, so as not to give off the appearance of dominance or a pending attack. Lastly, respect physical boundaries, so you do not threaten anyone's personal space. Zest difficult conversations with the third ingredient: data. Just like vanilla (a secret ingredient to many recipes), a little data goes a long way. Plus, you do not have to be an expert on the matter to obtain it! Whether it is a lived experience, a story from the news or an anecdote from a previous conversation, data can be collected by simply paying attention to the outlets you encounter every day.

Profile for Tallahassee Woman Magazine

Tallahassee Woman Magazine | June/July 2016  

The June/July 2016 issue of Tallahassee Woman features the winners of the 2016 Women Who Mean Business--Women on Fire awards. Also, summer...

Tallahassee Woman Magazine | June/July 2016  

The June/July 2016 issue of Tallahassee Woman features the winners of the 2016 Women Who Mean Business--Women on Fire awards. Also, summer...

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