Communicate better to bridge political, ideological, and racial divides.





Fill in the gaps in the article with the words in bold below:


stance                 articulate           common ground            divisive               plain

calling out         crucial                exasperating                   delve

Have you ever sat in a meeting with a co-worker unwilling to compromise over a 1. ………. issue? Not only is it 2. ……… . , but it often results in utter unproductivity — the last thing anyone wants in a meeting. This type of person — so stuck within their own paradigm that they can’t communicate — is “untalkable.”

Luckily, where there are “untalkable” people, there are always “talkable” individuals to be found. “Talkables” firmly maintain and 3. ……….. their opinions but are open to creating new solutions they haven’t considered before.

In their book How We Ended Racism: Realizing a New Possibility in One Generation, diversity expert Justin Michael Williams and activist Shelly Tygielski reveal how to bridge political, ideological, and racial divides beyond typical corporate DEI programs. A big part of that puzzle is becoming “talkable” and learning to communicate across a divisive issue. (…)

Step 1: State Your Surface Position

The surface position should be 4. …… and simple. It’s the foundational content of the situation at hand, and every conversation should start with your surface position, as it sets the stage for meaningful discussions and resolutions. “Remember that at this stage you’re just sharing your 5. ……… on the topic,” Williams and Tygielski write. “Plenty of conversations go wrong because people start by 6. ……..one another ………  rather than making it clear that the discussion is a chance for both parties to be called forward into a shared understanding.”

Step 2: Uncover Each Party’s Purpose

Navigating this step can prove challenging, as individuals often firmly believe in the absolute truth of their own narratives. “There are two important questions to ask yourself in order to have a difficult conversation: Do I want to be heard, or do I want to be effective? Do I want to create a bridge or widen the divide?” state Williams and Tygielski. To progress, it’s essential to 7. …….. into each party’s deepest fears and concerns, understanding how their stance addresses these worries. Moreover, it’s 8. ………. to explore how they perceive their position as contributing to societal advancement in a more inclusive and constructive manner. By uncovering the layers beneath our surface positions, the potential for 9. …………, synergy, and meaningful connections emerges. (…)

In order to read the whole paragraph/check your answers, go to: https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/4-steps-to-drastically-improve-conversations-with-those-who-disagree-with-you.

Key: 1.divisive; 2. exasperating; 3. articulate; 4. plain; 5. Stance; 6. calling (one another) out; 7. delve; 8. crucial; 9. common ground




  • to call out – to criticize someone or ask them to explain their actions
  • to delve – to examine a subject in detail
  • to cease – to stop happening or existing
  • alignment – a condition of close cooperation; integration or harmonization of aims, practices, etc within a group


Practice makes perfect



and answer the questions below:


1. What are two common conversational practices that can be frustrating and why?

2. How does the phrase “because I said so” affect a person’s ability to ask questions and learn?

3. Why is it important to ask better questions or articulate better answers when someone uses “because I said so” as an answer?

4. What is the difference between linguistic dismissal and intimidation, and how do they impact conversations?

5. How can practicing disagreeing tactfully about trivial matters like LEGO sets help young people engage with scientific information in the face of cultural counterpressures?

6. Can disagreements always lead to consensus? Explain.

7. What is the author’s main argument in the text?


Fill in the gaps in the sentences below with the words in bold. Make sure their grammatical form is correct.


cease           stance         delve        alignment      articulate           call out


1. If you’re interested in a subject, use the internet to ……… deeper.

2. The father …………. his son on why he had missed half of all the biology classes.

3. Could you stop making faces and ……….. your thoughts?

4. Mark ……… to be the company’s president when he was replaced by a more competent person.

5. I strongly support my party’s ……….. against the war.

6. They were not quite in ……………. with each other.


Key: 1. . delve; 2. called out; 3. articulate; 4. ceased; 5. stance; 6. alignment


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How to disagree productively and find common ground