Doing Dialogue

Making Difficult Conversations Not So Difficult

May 9, 2017


There you are - heart rate up, eyes dilated, adrenalin kicking in, jaw tightening. Maybe you’re the celebrity actor waiting for your big moment in your latest action movie. Maybe you’re about to experience your first skydiving jump. Or maybe you’re just standing, looking over the hedge of cubicles lining the company landscape, and beyond that is the curve of the earth.

Most people might see the Arctic Circle and Antarctica as being polar opposite to each other. Some people might see the United States as being on the opposite side of the planet from China. But we know that our planet is a sphere, and ‘opposites’ and ‘sides’ are all relative. We tend to live in fixed perspectives, not yet adjusted and molded as a result of different experiences.

Truth is that we don’t know who other people are until we get to know ‘them’. The other team, other cultures, different beliefs and values sprinkled with our own ignorances and assumptions are ingredients that can serve up the perfect storm. In its wake there’s fear, anger and resentment. But at the center of a storm there’s is calm - the silent moment during which all sides of a conflict can be considered.

Finding that space, in quiet reflection, we find chances to communicate, share stories and engage in dialogue. Speaking to this point, our very own Executive Director Parisa Parsa was recently featured on Central Florida's NPR interview show, Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys: Imam Muhammad Musri (Senior Imam of the Islamic Society of Central Florida); Rabbi Steven Engel, and the Rev. Bryan Fulwider. Rev. Parsa talked about about faith, difficult conversations and the key to dialogue that can bring positive results. The May 2, 2017 episode titled Faith & Society: Difficult Conversations with the The Rev. Parisa Parsa (Essential Partners)

There just might be celebrity life, skydiving or a trip to Antarctica in your future after all. Either way, step out of your sphere, and conquer fear.

Teja joined Essential Partners in April, 2017. He brings a thirty-year combined experience as a PBS documentary producer, professor of media/communications and race & ethnic relations, diversity and inclusion trainer and public speaker. He has an Emmy Award and three Telly Awards for social issues PBS documentaries, and is the author of four books about race and culture. He started his company, Entertaining Diversity, Inc. in 1992, to teach issues of racism through entertainment. Teja is African-American/Filipino and German, and grew up in Japan, has traveled through many countries and has been a keynote speaker in over 1,200 locations around the US. Telling stories that build bridges between many perspectives has always been his mission in life and work.