Strategies for Effective Dialogue

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Thursday, December 15th, 2022

Let's start by defining the term. Dialogue: A discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution” [1]

Maybe we disagree about dinner, how to tie our shoes, or whether the sky is even blue! Regardless of the strife, my mother always remedied any difficult situation among my siblings by urging us to simply “work it out”.

Work it out? How would we do that? With a good ol’ fashioned dialogue!

The discipline of dialogue, as with most behaviors, requires continual practice for improvement. Just like working out at the gym, running, or even stacking hay bales, it gets easier the more you try doing it.

Here a few strategies that I have not yet mastered but have found helpful when engaging in crucial or difficult conversations related to conflict resolution.


Think of the last time you were mad at somebody. So mad that your heart began to race, your ears went red, and your thoughts became crowded with assumptions about the other person. We’re often reluctant to listen to the age-old wisdom of calming the brain with focused breathing, but research shows that even just a few deep breaths can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety [2] while increasing your concentration and ability to have a respectful conversation.

Use “I Statements”

A component of respectful conversation is using “I” statements which acknowledge how we are feeling when speaking with someone else; Even if we are talking about how the other person’s actions or behaviors have affected us. An example of this would be “I don’t feel like you are seeing my perspective” as opposed to “you aren’t seeing my perspective”. When using “I” statements, we refrain from making accusations and harness our self-control to confront conflict in a way that is beneficial for everyone involved.

These are simply two strategies that I’ve garnered throughout the years, and like I said, I’m still working on it! An effective leader knows that we always will be. Stay tuned for more conflict resolution dialogue practices!


[1] Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Definition of dialogue. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from

[2] Magnon, V., Dutheil, F., & Vallet, G. T. (2021). Benefits from one session of deep and slow breathing on vagal tone and anxiety in young and older adults. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 19267.

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Thu, 12/15/2022 - 10:00am -- Anonymous

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