Saturday, February 24

Respectful and Productive Discussions | What are the Key Points to Know?

A group of people having respectful and productive discussion.

In any profession or environment you find yourself in, there will always be a need to discuss in a group. And in those kinds of discussions, you have the utmost freedom to speak your mind and express yourself in a creative but thoughtful way. But then, there are rules and key points you and your peers, friends, or colleagues should know to have respectful and productive discussions.

Whether you are an employee, employer, teacher, or student, you need to know these key points. They will not only help in engaging in healthy conversations but will help in a productive and respectful civil discourse.

Before we look at these critical points, let’s understand what civil discourse is and how it relates to respectful and productive discussion.

What Is Civil Discourse?

A respectful and productive discussion is the simplest civil discourse definition. These discussions allow people to come to terms with opinions that differ from theirs and to start their opinions in a way that is respectful and not detrimental to others. And the end goal is to reach a productive climax where the parties involved understand themselves better even if they don’t totally agree with others’ opinions.

You must listen in a respectful and productive discussion, like civil discourse. Not just to hear what the other party has to say, for hearing’s sake, but to understand it. And when you begin this, you’ll have found the key to having a respectful and productive discussion.

Key Points to Know in Respectful Discussions

If you plan to have a respectful and productive discussion, you should know some key points.

Before you speak, know why

Have you ever heard of the why am I talking concept? It’s one of the key points to know for a respectful discussion. This way, you will avoid speaking or asking questions out of context. Also, try as much as possible not to interrupt others.

Keep your mind open

Keeping your mind open is very important in a respectful discussion. You need to not only inquire about others’ perspectives but acknowledge them. As much as you want others to know how you feel, you should also know how they feel.

All opinions must not be like yours

Even in a team working together towards a definite goal, it’s almost impossible for every team member to have the same opinion. And no matter how your colleagues’ or friends’ opinions differ from yours, respect and value them. Try to understand it instead of debating on it. There’s no need to prove them wrong.

Watch out for cues, verbal or non-verbal

In a discussion, how you talk and the volume and tone matter greatly as they can be interpreted. So be careful how you put that out there. In some cases, your gestures or facial expressions might betray you. However, remember they are silent messages you pass to the other parties in the discussion. Be mindful of them.

Stay away from generalization

Do not generalize. Do not make statements that are blank either about any particular group. And if you need to speak from experience, use yours. Use you. An “I” is better than “They” in a respectful and productive discussion.

If you must comment, let it be kind

This is quite simple. If you check that your comment is not kind, keep it to yourself. There’s no need for it since it would hurt the other parties’ feelings. Mind you, when you hurt someone unintentionally, you have hurt them. Being unintentional doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

While listening, be humble

Is it possible to be rude even while listening? Of course. A good listener in civil discourse or a respectful discussion must be attentive and present. There’s no need to begin imposing your own biases on another’s thoughts. Either mentally or physically. And if you need to rephrase or pick a point from what another speaker said, always make sure you do it right. If you are not sure, you can ask. There’s no harm in asking, “hope I am right?”

You should know several other vital things while engaging in a respectful and productive discussion, but these few top the scale. While bearing them in mind, remember to criticize an idea and not the person, listen to learn and not to debate, teach if you can, and don’t go shaming anyone.


In a respectful and productive discussion, everyone should feel heard and comfortable. And like civil discourse, a respectful and productive civil discourse can transform individuals and help improve how they interact with people.

There are many ways to have respectful discussions, which you will soon benefit from if you engage in healthy and productive discussions using the above key points.

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