1:1 Red / Blue Conversation (1st Conversation)

Overview:  This conversation guide provides an opportunity to talk 1:1 with someone outside of your own political group about what you each believe and want for the country.  This is the first of two 1-hour conversations that are self-directed and non-facilitated, following a detailed structure. Some pairs find it useful to use a phone timer, to help stay on track and share airtime evenly, especially during parts of the conversation when you each have several minutes to talk.

Related Resources
Round 1 (~3 minutes)

Review the Technical Guidelines

While waiting for your partner to join, review these technical guidelines for a smooth conversation experience:
Stick together through the conversation rounds.
Complete each conversation round together. Each person then clicks "Proceed to Next Round" to advance. If need be, you can return to a previous round by clicking on it. 

You can drag and drop your own image anywhere on the page.
Keep an eye on the time.
The countdown timer helps you stay on track so that you use your time well. However, your pace for each section is up to you, and you can go over the hour if you both agree.    
Keep yourself muted when not speaking.
When you are not speaking, press your mute button to eliminate background noise and echo. When you are speaking, remember to unmute.
Keep your video on at all times.
If you are having bandwidth trouble, however, you can turn off your video to improve audio performance.
Having audio or video problems?
Try refreshing your browser - you'll come right back into the conversation. If this doesn't work, click "Need Help" for troubleshooting tips. 
We want to know if technology didn't work well for you in this conversation. 
Please send screenshots to connect@allsides.com.

Round 2 (~10 minutes)

Open Up the Conversation

After settling in and making sure audio and video are working, one of the participants reads the goals out loud and the other reads the ground rules:
  • Gain more understanding of the experiences, feelings, and beliefs of someone who differs with you in today’s politically polarized environment. 
  • Discover areas of commonality in addition to differences. 
Ground Rules:
  1. We’re here to explain our views and to understand the other person, not to convince the other person to change their mind. 
  2. We’re here as individuals. Let’s not assume the other person holds any particular views of a political party or political leader—unless they say they do.
  3. We’re going to describe our own views and avoid characterizing the views of the other person in terms they don’t use themselves. In other words, no applying our own labels to the other person’s positions (for example, “big government liberal” or “anti-immigrant conservative”).  
  4. We’re going stick to the process for each stage of the conversation.  Example: if the question is what we each learned about how the other person sees an issue, that’s all we do then, even if it means resisting the urge to “correct" the other person’s obvious mistake!  We give each other permission to gently remind each other if we veer off from the process.
Discuss: Are you both on board with these goals and ground rules, and ready to go?

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Round 3 (~2 minutes)

Get to Know Each Other and How We See Our Own Side

Each person takes 1-2 minutes max to answer each of the following questions (here and elsewhere, feel free to use less time):
  • Why have you decided to participate in this conversation?
  • Do you hear anything in common in why you are participating?
Suggestion: alternate who reads and answers each question from here on.
Round 4 (~4 minutes)

Share Something About Yourself

Spend up to 2 minutes each sharing something about yourself such as where you live and for how long, family, and if you like, a fun question: 

  • What was your favorite meal as a child?  
Round 5 (~15 minutes)

Share Where You Are Politically, and How You Got Here

Each person spend up to 5 minutes each on the following question. The other person listens, with no cross talk (that is, no questions, “me too” comments, or anything that takes the conversational ball away from the one speaking). Then the other person goes. Starting at this point, it can be really helpful to set a timer.

  • How would you describe yourself politically, and what life experiences have influenced your values and beliefs about politics and public policy? 

Afterwards, spend 4 minutes taking turns answering the following:

  • What did you learn about the other person’s political perspective, and did you see anything in common?
Round 6 (~12 minutes)

What’s Good About Your Side?

Each person answers the following question, for 4 minutes each. No cross talk.  Speak just about your own side, and avoid comparisons that characterize the other side (“My side cares more about….”)

  • What's good about my political "side?"

Afterwards, spend 4 minutes taking turns answering the following:

  • What did you learn about how the other person sees the benefits of their side, and did you see anything in common? 
Round 7 (~8 minutes)

Share Justifiable Criticisms of Your Own Side

This is an opportunity for humility about your own side—what makes you wince (at least a little) about your own side? Make sure you refer only to your side and avoid watering down your points by saying things like “Of course, both sides are guilty of this.” 4 minutes for each person. No cross talk.

  • What are my reservations or concerns about my own side? 

Afterwards, go back and forth for 4 minutes on this question:

  • What did you learn about the other person’s concerns about their own side, and do you see anything in common?
Note: if both of you have participated in a Red/Blue workshop where you heard each other’s answers to Rounds 5 and 6, you can substitute Topic 1 from the second conversation. You can then add an additional topic next time. In other words, you can skip Rounds 5 and 6 (if you like), and have three topical conversations instead of two.
Round 8 (~5 minutes)

Check Out, Say Goodbye

Take turns answering the following questions (1-2 minutes per person, per question):

  • How did I feel about this conversation? 
  • Do I want to go forward with the second conversation? 
If "yes" on both sides, schedule 2nd conversation. In the next conversation, you will each talk about a policy issue you care about deeply, so it would be good to come prepared with an issue in mind.