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“The relationship which I have found
helpful is characterized by … an
acceptance of [the] other person as a
separate person with value in his own
right, and by a deep empathetic
understanding which enables me to see
his private world through his eyes.”
Traditional language is too combative
Win or Lose (Resolve)
Attack a thesis or position (understand)
Traditional language puts people in two
camps - divided – which causes
antagonism between parties, furthering
the divide, not allowing for a resolution to
Starting with the Rogerian Model
Start with a common ground
The virtue of finding common ground is
that a person can isolate and resolve
the points of opposition more effectively
after identifying the points of agreement
because the hostility of the audience
has been reduced by showing and
understanding of the audience’s
Modifying the Classical Model
Identifies common ground
(points of agreement) before
calling attention to points of
Not to win or prove wrong
to arrive at an agreed-on truth
Outline (Because I know you want one)
I. What is the shared problem, Identify context
II. A vignette that illustrates the problem
III. A second scenario but with greater complexity that some solutions cannot handle well.
II. Points of agreement
III. Where we differ:
I. Thesis – stated briefly then explain what you understand to be the beliefs of others
including misunderstandings (drawbacks or limited applications of others’ solutions)
and possible reasons behind misunderstandings
II. You must treat the opposition with respect or your readers will not trust the rest of your
IV. Support for thesis, elements both positions have in common, concede
V. Present a starting point for further discussion based on shared goals and
interests, with a clear statement of areas left to be explore and discussed.
I. Here you are trying to convince the reader that it is safe to enter into a dialogue in
order to come to an agreeable solution.
II. Conclusion, how we can resolve our differences; or, an exhortation to resolving
differences together, end on a positive note of hope.