Friday, July 5, 2019

Complicating the Narratives

Illustration by Michael Marsicano

Read: Complicating the Narratives by Amanda Ripley
Listen: Complicating the Narratives by Amanda Ripley, read by Allison Frost

In Brief

In 2018, Amanda Ripley spent three months learning how professionals deal with conflict. She interviewed mediators, psychologists, clergy, and researchers. She spent 50 hours in training for dispute resolution. She participated in experimental conversations where researchers study communication techniques to determine what works. The article she wrote is among the most important of the year, perhaps of the decade.

Ripley writes to her fellow journalists, but the principles she advocates are applicable to all of us. They are:

  1. Amplify Contradictions
  2. Widen the Lens
  3. Ask Questions that Get to People's Motivations
  4. Listen more, and better
  5. Expose People to the Other Tribe
  6. Counter Confirmation Bias (Carefully)

She summarizes by advocating for us all to "complicate the narratives" when we converse and when we write. Simplified messages sustain conflict. Complicated messages bring about greater respect and understanding.

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