The Art of Difficult Conversations with Sara Ness
A new course starting in April
Since the beginning of Rebel Wisdom, we’ve been trying to figure out what it takes to have authentic conversations around polarising topics. What skills do we need to understand and respond to perspectives that differ from our own? How can we communicate our own ideas in a way that takes a conversation into new territory?
In the process, we’ve come across some extraordinary facilitators teaching dialogue practices that can help bridge the rifts in our cultural landscape. Sara Ness is one of the very best we’ve worked with. We’ve been collaborating with her for several months to develop a new course, and we’re now ready to announce ‘The Art of Difficult Conversations’ which begins on the 5th of April.
Along with Authentic Relating and Circling practices, the course will teach you techniques from mediation, Internal Family Systems, Polyvagal Theory, Nonviolent Communication, and more. We’ll also explore lessons from some of history’s most skilled conversationalists and negotiators.
As the debates over vaccination, politics, gender, race, and identity politics increase, many of us are struggling to navigate these topics. What seems clear is that arguing over them with a win/lose mentality risks damaging our relationships and deepening the rifts that divide us. Sara trains people around the world in techniques that help us have a very different kind of conversation.
About Sara Ness
A pioneer in dialogue practices like Authentic Relating and Circling, Sara is a creative powerhouse and a renowned facilitator, teacher, and community-builder. She is internationally notorious for having popularised the field of Authentic Relating. She’s worked with tens of thousands of students, from Google and Mindvalley to Burning Man, teaching authentic leadership and authentic communication. Among other projects, she co-founded and ran two of the longest-running Authentic Relating communities in the world, including Authentic Revolution.
How the Course Works
The course begins on April 5, 2022 and will run on Tuesdays at 8pm London time / 3pm New York / 7am Melbourne for six weeks, with each session lasting two hours. Sessions will contain a mixture of content (theory and knowledge), examples, and real-time practice to apply the skills you learn. We will focus on key models and techniques to help you in the hardest conversations, which you can take away and use immediately with family and friends.
You will also meet weekly with a small ‘pod’ of three or four others on the course to practice what you're learning. You'll receive weekly challenges, access to recordings of the sessions, and supportive resources including a workbook.
The six weeks is structured around helping you understand and navigate conflict from three levels: the internal, the relational, and the philosophical. You can read about this approach in more detail on the website.
The course is designed to help you approach polarised issues as a more effective communicator; able to visit the world-views on different sides of the culture wars and find creative ways to bridge them. It’s about understanding the psychological and relational bases for our conflicts, and walking across ideological lines to a place of deeper connection.
We’ve wanted to host a course like this for some time and can’t think of anyone better to run it than Sara. It’s a chance to develop skills that can have a real impact on our day to day lives, at a time when it feels more important than ever to find ways to communicate across divides.
The Rebel Wisdom Team