Conversation Contract




  1. I will listen respectfully and carefully to others. This is the best way to begin to understand other’s points of view and to discover common ground.
  2. I will speak honestly about my thoughts and feelings. My willingness to speak honestly demonstrates trust and respect for others.
  3. I will speak for myself, rather than as a member of a group. I do not know what others in the group are thinking or feeling and cannot speak for them. I will use "I-statements" rather than "we-statements."
  4. I realize that each participant holds part of the truth I am seeking to discern and that I won’t hear that truth if I judge too quickly what is being said.
  5. I realize that true conversation needs give and take. I will give others plenty of opportunity to speak and respond. I will help keep the discussion focused by sticking to the subject at hand.
  6. I will maintain confidentiality about matters people share with the group when it is asked or obviously appropriate.
  7. I will keep an open mind. I will try to understand others as much as possible from their point of view as they express it. Even those who disagree with me are not necessarily my enemies.
  8. I will exercise care for group members who become upset over what is said during our conversations.
  9. I understand that listening is an active, demanding activity. I will listen not only for what is said but for tone of voice, kind and level of feeling expressed, and body language. I will also be attentive for what is not said.
  10. I understand the outcome, quality, and safety of the conversation is everyone’s responsibility.


This contract adapted from "Talking Together as Christians," a publication of the ELCA