A graphic of a journey on a map. Words: 'Navigating difficult conversations. Free workshop.' Hosted by Onewa Christian Community [logo] and supported by Auckland North Community and Development [logo].

Navigating challenging conversations

On 6 December we hosted another of our restorative thinking workshops, this one a bespoke session entitled ‘Navigating Challenging Conversations.’ The presenter was Erica Fairbank. Once again, a diverse range of people attended and generously brought their experience and spirit of enquiry to the occasion.

Three women, seated, are talking. One woman is standing and listening.
Erica listening to a small group discussion

This hands-on workshop encouraged conversations and sharing. It covered topics such as:

  • The fundamentals of non-verbal communication
  • Human needs (to feel safe, values, understood)
  • Ekman’s seven universal emotions (happiness, sadness, disgust, contempt, anger, fear, and surprise)
  • Conflict and power relationships
  • The four life positions (dominate, avoid, accommodate, collaborate), empathy and assertiveness
  • Understanding how escalation occurs and how to de-escalate stressful situations
  • Bringing it together in exercises to adopt collaborative approaches and listen well to others in a validating way.
Circle of seated people as Erica, standing, presents. This is in a church decorated for Christmas.

Following the session, people are providing feedback that will shape future activities. Comments include: ‘It was a well thought out interactive workshop. It had a relaxed atmosphere and held our attention’ and the most valuable part was ‘Meeting and having meaningful conversations with others.’ Several attendees recommend a workshop that explores some of the restorative thinking themes within the context of diversity.

As previously, we met the costs of this workshop through funding granted by the Justice-Compassion Trust. ANCAD once again supported us with promoting the workshop. We were able to run it without charge to the 19 participants.

What next for restorative thinking?

Greg Morgan, our community engagement director, comments:

‘Our restorative thinking initiative is proving its worth. Talking about better conversations and helping people to practise the skills of talking respectfully and well is valuable. We’re about to create a restorative thinking web page and mailing list. Sign up if you are interested.’

Sign up here to receive info on our restorative thinking project. You’ll get updates and invitations to workshops and other events. Thanks for your interest!

Restorative thinking sign up
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Coloured background. 'Better conversations: restorative thinking and action.' www.onewacc,org,nz' and emblem of Onewa Christian Community.