There is a plethora of topic that are difficult to approach in a discussion, yet some of them are especially challenging to handle in a conversation. As a rule, these include the issues that are deemed as highly contentious due to the deep personal connection that people have with opinion on the specified issues. Therefore, unconformable feelings are unavoidable when tackling the specified subjects. By recognizing the value of discussing such issues and focusing on the end goal, on can manage a highly controversial topic without derailing the discussion into the subjective area.
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From a personal perspective, the topics that may appear to be the most challenging for a group discussion include abortion, death penalty, human cloning, and similar issues that imply wandering into the philosophical premises of specific religions or questioning the legitimacy of an opponent’s ethical code. The topic of abortion is especially difficult of me to address in group discussions since it incorporates the issues of religious believers versus the necessity to recognize the personal agency and independence of a woman.
Ehen managing controversial discussion points, I tend to change my communication style slightly. For instance, I tend to talk faster and more emotionally, while gesticulating more actively. Since controversial topics often touch upon the issue of personal beliefs and convictions, I usually tend to get defensive about my opinions (Boye,2016). As a result, I use the gestures that indicate my being unwilling to yield my opinions, such as folding hands.
However, despite the presence of strong beliefs, I am not a confrontational person, which is why communicating with the one who prefers a very persuasive or aggressive demeanor is quite difficult for me. At the same time, I feel the urge to acknowledge the existence and, possibly, validity of other opinions, which is why it is difficult for me to hold my position. As a result, I am quite easily led in a controversial discussion. Although I recognize that the described pattern of communicating is not the best one for conducting a rational and constructive discussion, I still feel emotionally and psychologically unsafe when experiencing the necessity to face confrontations in communication.
However, the disadvantage described above supports the ability to be flexible in discussions of different issues, especially those with which I might feel uncomfortable. Specifically, I can adjust quite easily if a conversation is steered by one of the participants in an unexpected direction, and the topics switch from a specific subject matter to an entirely different one. Namely, I can read the reasoning behind the changes in the direction that a conversation takes, which allows me to introduce arguments and ideas that will support and carry the discussion even if the rest of the participants are not yet quite able to switch to a new topic.
The ability described above is also quite useful when the discussion changes to the topic with which I am unfamiliar. In the specified scenario, I can contribute to the dialogue while encouraging the participants that have greater knowledge of the subject at hand to lead the dialogue (Boye,2016). As a result, the communication process becomes more than merely an exchange of facts. Specifically, a plethora of learning opportunities opens in front of all those unfamiliar with the topic at hand. Thus, by discussing a variety of issues and sharing ideas, experiences, and impressions, people can introduce each other to new perspectives and unexpected points of view, expanding their personal philosophies and perceptions of the world and people around them.
Therefore, when starting a new conversation, I tend to focus on the participants and their specific opinions, while also ensuring that there is enough fuel for discussion. As a result, the items that are usually deemed as distractions in a conversation do not bother me but, instead, represent an opportunity to change the course and direction of the dialogue, introduce new ideas and themes, an, overall, navigate the discourse more freely. Thus, potential distractions and interruptions are transformed from a nuisance that derails the communication into the props for managing the direction of the communication and encouraging participants to express their personal opinions and beliefs (Boye,2016). The specified technique fuels the dialogue, often leading to heated arguments, but ultimately culminating in a consensus that will leave all participants with new information to dwell and reflect upon, thus expanding the scope of their worldview.
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However, apart from the ability to communicate one’s ideas freely and cohesively, it is also crucial to be aware of how to use and decipher body language properly. The specified skill requires knowing the basic signs that are common for most cultures, as well as the ability to spot these signs. Furthermore, in a multicultural setting, learning basic nonverbal elements of the target culture should be regarded as necessary to avoid blunders and misunderstandings.
Overall, communication needs to be viewed both as an art form and the method of learning through the exploration of diverse points of view. In this regard, my ability to adjust to new settings quickly and notice subtle signs and nonverbal elements used to convey critical information are crucial strengths. However, I also need to build emotional intelligence to spot changes in the attitudes of people involved in a conversation in order to steer it in the right direction and avoid confrontations.
Boye, S. (2016). Intercultural communicative competence and short stays abroad: Perceptions of development. Waxmann Verlag.