Recent political campaigns and philosophical confrontations online and in the press have destroyed lasting friendships, frayed family ties, and alienated neighbors and co-workers. Social media has devolved into a battleground of nasty diatribes and personal slurs. How can we advocate for libraries in this environment?
The Discovery Model is about first listening to the other person’s point of view and being able to understand their values and the world they live in. The point? It’s about strengthening and sustaining workplace, personal, and online relationships, not trying to win the argument du jour. And learning to live in peace on the same planet with people you disagree with.
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For libraries and other organizations looking for financial and political support, influence begins with empathy. Do you know the other person’s priorities? How your political opponents find the information that guides their decisions? What misunderstandings they might have about your positions? And, most importantly, what mistakes might you have been making when communicating your values and advocating for your causes?
Topics include the concept of listening with a “clean heart and fresh eyes,” the 75% rule, why emotions can be more important than facts, questions that elicit information, building trust and respect, turning enemies into allies, and how the Discovery Model might change your opinions as well.
- Introduction: The Elephant and the Wise Blind Seers
- The Key Idea: Are Conversations Battles to Win or Lose?
- The Rules of The Game: Agreements About Civility
- Start with Commonality and Foundation Ideas
- Precision in Language and Concepts
- Verifying and Evaluating Information
- Avoiding Common Critical Thinking Mistakes
- Next steps
- Build and maintain positive relationships based on trust and respect during divisive political times, even with political opponents.
- Attract people who want to discuss issues and learn instead of debating them as competing in a reality-show contest.
- Create safe public environments for difficult conversations.
- Win financial and political support for institutions and causes.
- Set an example of civil behavior for the people you serve.
Pat Wagner, co-owner of Pattern Research, Inc., is a management consultant and instructional producer. She has been serving libraries, higher ed, and allied institutions since 1978. Pat is a frequent speaker at state and national library conferences and has worked for libraries and library associations from Alaska to Puerto Rico, from the smallest storefront rural libraries to the largest urban districts and academic learning centers. Pat specializes in skills to support library success, including marketing, conflict management, customer service, strategic planning, and project management. She is committed to the ideal of an open marketplace of ideas.