COMMUNICATING IN CONFLICT: ENCOUNTER’S APPROACH

Encounter’s approach to commu­ni­cating in conflict serves as the blue­print for our values. This frame­work is what makes our trips unique, allowing for resilient listening and honest exchange. We encourage you to read our approach to learn more about Encounter’s inno­v­a­tive method­ology. We hope it will serve as a resource for our alumni and the broader community:

COMMUNICATING IN CONFLICT: ENCOUNTER’S APPROACH

Encounter’s approach to commu­ni­cating in conflict aim’s to create a frame­work in which deeply contentious and charged topics can be explored respect­fully by people of diverse ideo­log­ical view­points. This approach helps us to frame ques­tions in ways that speakers are able to hear and answer to the best of their ability, and allows us to reframe comments and state­ments in order to access our genuine questions.

This approach is designed to help us:

  • hear and learn things we might other­wise miss, and
  • ask chal­lenging ques­tions in ways that can be heard by the person being addressed.

We have found that using this frame­work, while it may feel coun­ter­in­tu­itive at first, can actu­ally liberate us. First, we are forced to clarify for ourselves and for others the burning ques­tion at the heart of our discom­fort or curiosity; second, we are able to commu­ni­cate more openly because we are no longer afraid of offending. Encounter’s approach enables us to ask the most chal­lenging ques­tions in ways that are respectful, genuine, and open.

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Encounter’s approach to commu­ni­cating in conflict enables us to speak with כבוד / kavod (honor) and אמת / emet (truth­ful­ness) in all our conver­sa­tions during Encounter programs. It serves as a guiding frame­work for conver­sa­tions with other partic­i­pants as well as with Palestinians.

We encourage partic­i­pants to: 

  1. Speak for your­self, not as a repre­sen­ta­tive of a group. Do not ask others to repre­sent, defend or explain an entire group. Make “I” state­ments rather than “we” statements.
  2. Avoid making broad gener­al­iza­tions and grand pronounce­ments. Instead, connect what you know and believe to your expe­ri­ences and sources of information.
  3. Express your different view­points in a thoughtful manner and without an insulting spirit. Keep in mind your goals of learning and reflec­tion. When you disagree with others, respect­fully express your opin­ions, but resist the urge to persuade them to “your side.”
  4. Listen with resilience, “hanging in” when you hear some­thing that is hard to hear. Take personal time if you find that you are no longer able to listen with a clear mind and an open heart.
  5. Share airtime and refrain from inter­rupting others, except to indi­cate that you cannot hear a speaker. Participate within the time frames suggested by the facilitators.
  6. Pass” or “pass for now” if you are not ready or willing to respond to a ques­tion, no expla­na­tion required.
  7. Keep all small-group conver­sa­tions and listening pairs confi­den­tial. Outside those, if asked to keep some­thing confi­den­tial, honor the request. In conver­sa­tions outside of the group, do not attribute state­ments to indi­vid­uals by name or iden­ti­fying infor­ma­tion without permission.
  8. During ques­tion and answer time periods, avoid making lengthy state­ments. Do not argue with speakers or other partic­i­pants. Instead, ask ques­tions that express your genuine curiosity.

Download Communicating in Conflict: Encounter’s Approach

When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand…
Listening, not talking is the gifted and great role… So try listening.
Listen to your wife, your husband, your father, your mother, your chil­dren, your friends, to those who love you and those who don’t, to those who bore you, to your enemies. It will work a small miracle. And perhaps a great one.

— Brenda Ueland, from The Art of Listening

Encounter’s approach to commu­ni­cating in conflict is inspired by the 2004 Public Conversations Project, from their work with pro-choice and pro-life leaders. 

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Communication Guidelines by Encounter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Our Mission

Encounter is an edu­ca­tional orga­ni­za­tion dedi­cated to strength­ening the capacity of the Jewish people to be construc­tive agents of change in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Moti­vated by the relent­less Jew­ish pur­suit of hokhma (wis­dom) and binah (under­stand­ing), Encounter cul­ti­vates informed Jew­ish lead­er­ship on the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict by bring­ing…

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