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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