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.
I will speak honestly about my
thoughts and feelings. My willingness to speak honestly demonstrates trust and
respect for others.
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
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.
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.
I will maintain confidentiality
about matters people share with the group when it is asked or obviously
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.
I will exercise care for group
members who become upset over what is said during our conversations.
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
I understand the outcome,
quality, and safety of the conversation is everyone’s
- This contract adapted from "Talking Together as
Christians," a publication of the ELCA