October 9, 2020
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Sign up for a free virtual training from the Better Arguments Project

Community leaders, educators, and business executives can all learn how to have more productive arguments.

Matt Zwiebel, Executive Director of Pledge 1% Colorado, attends a Better Arguments Project event in Denver, Colorado. You can attend one of three upcoming Better Arguments Project events virtually.

With election season in full swing, tensions are running high, and we often view those who we disagree with as adversaries. These disagreements flourish both on social media and in person, and likely won’t end after Election Day on Nov. 3.

That’s why The Better Arguments Project is offering three free training sessions where attendees will learn in detail the principles of a better argument, and how to put them into practice in their daily lives—from the boardroom or the classroom. The idea isn’t to argue less, it’s to argue better.

Register here for a free training with the Better Arguments team. All sessions will be virtual:

• Oct. 21 at noon ET
• Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. ET
• Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. ET

These trainings are for concerned citizens of all types, including community leaders, educators, and business executives.

The Better Arguments Project is a collaboration between the Aspen Institute, the nonprofit Facing History and Ourselves, and Allstate. It originated from the belief that when more citizens are equipped with the tools to communicate productively across political divides, our democracy, and society, will be stronger.

Eric Liu, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program, has outlined guidelines that are designed to work for every American, whether they’re a business leader or a high school student. Here are the five principles for a better argument:

1. Take Winning off the Table

Conventionally, parties enter an argument with a goal of winning, or at least reaching resolution. Instead, the goal of a Better Argument should be framed as the reinstitution of civility to build a common community.

2. Prioritize Relationships and Listen Passionately

A Better Argument places relationships at the center, and requires that all parties are truly listening to one another. Participants should listen to learn, not to win.

3. Pay Attention to Context

A Better Argument acknowledges culture. Understanding the presence of culture in any debate increases its accessibility. Better Arguments within a community should begin with specific questions relevant to that community.

4. Embrace Vulnerability

In civic life today, many Americans only engage with circles that confirm their own worldviews. One major reason why this withdrawal occurs is because entering a space of argument means making yourself vulnerable.

5. Make Room to Transform

A Better Argument is a transformational experience for all involved. Without a goal of winning or even reaching resolution, the goal of a Better Argument becomes to change how we engage with one another in order to build a community.
Read more about The Better Arguments Project on their website, betterarguments.org. If you have any questions about the training, contact betterarguments@aspeninstitute.org.

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