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The Lost Art of Constructive Conversations

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The Lost Art of Constructive Conversations

Inside Influence podcast

Inside Influence,

5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How good are you at changing your mind?

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Many people believe that disagreeing with someone means you’re starting on opposite sides and that eventually, maybe, you’ll meet in the middle. Perhaps you secretly hope that if you argue well enough, the other person will see your logic, change his or her mind, and apologize for being so shortsighted. This unrealistic, unhealthy goal doesn’t respect the other person’s opinions and experience. So how should we approach disagreement? Business strategist Julia Dhar and management and leadership consultant Julie Masters provide actionable tips in this episode of the Inside Influence podcast.


Before engaging in a constructive conversation, learn to separate your identity from your ideas. 

Every human is born into a system of religious or political beliefs that they learn during childhood. As a child, those beliefs are foisted on you, but as an adult, you can either hold on to your childhood beliefs or change them. It’s important to know that your ideas can and will change and that “you’re not what you believe.” Sometimes questioning or changing your beliefs can be scary and painful, particularly when your community holds those beliefs dear. Agreeing with your community can feel vital to continued safety, belonging, love and connection. Changing your beliefs can cause a fear of separation, which, to your primitive brain and your nervous system, can feel like danger and death. 

The things you know, think and believe today aren’t necessarily the things you’ll know, think or believe in the future. Not only are you capable of transformation but you are, in fact, changing all the time. Knowing that, you can be more purposeful about...

About the Podcast

Julia Dhar is the  co-founder of BeSmart, the Boston Consulting Group’s behavioral economics initiative. Her TED Talks, “How to Disagree Productively and Find Common Ground” and “How to Have Constructive Conversations,” have received more than 10 million views. Julie Masters is a managment and leadership consultant. She hosts Inside Influence, a fortnightly podcast on speaking and influencing.

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