WSU’s Bob Ackerman: Civility’s Biggest Obstacle Is a Willingness to ListenMarch 2, 2018
Civility is a reflection of what we do, say and how we treat others.
That is how Bob Ackerman, law professor at Wayne State University and director of the Levin Center at Wayne Law, defined civility, the central theme of the 2018 Detroit Policy Conference.
Ackerman stressed the importance of having civil conversations with people you don’t agree with as a mechanism for learning. Ackerman drew inspiration for his talk from three books: “Difficult Conversations” by Bruce Patton, “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Patton, and “Getting Past No” by Ury.
- Treat conflict as a problem to be solved, not a battle to be won.
- Look to challenge yourself by not only learning new things, but seeking new perspectives to expand your understanding.
- Avoid “reactive devaluation,” meaning don’t discredit an opinion because it comes from a person you don’t agree with.
- Civil conversation is the only way to move the country forward.
- Civility may be a challenge, but it’s worth the work.