Speak Your Peace

9 Tools of Civility – (Source: Speak Your Peace)


Pay Attention: Be aware and attend to the world and the people around you

  • Be informed about what is occurring in our community
  • Focus on the issue — on what the person is saying
  • Consider the whole picture; issues are connected
  • Open your mind to new perspectives; strive for objectivity

Listen: Focus on others in order to better understand their points of view

  • Seek to understand; here what is said
  • Ask effective questions
  • Respect the person and his/her view through your words and body language
  • Give thoughtful attention; avoid distractions such as: your emotion, multi-tasking or formulating a response instead of listening

Be Inclusive: Welcome all groups of citizens working for the greater good of the community

  • Know the community system in order to be inclusive (social, economic, environmental, technical, etc.)
  • Intentionally and sincerely invite diverse perspectives
  • Seek participation; take responsibility; include yourself!
  • Use common language; avoid jargon

Don’t Gossip: And don’t accept when others choose to do so

  • Go to the source for the facts; validate the information
  • Communicate with respect and a positive intent; own what you say; be accountable
  • Model integrity and mutual respect; set a good example for others
  • Honor those who are not present

Show Respect: Honor other people and their opinions, especially in the midst of a disagreement

  • Value the person; appreciate his/her contributions, experiences, passion, culture, norms and values
  • Use questions to clarify
  • Value ideas that are brought to the table
  • Demonstrate positive body language

Seek Common Ground: Look for opportunities to agree; don’t contradict just to do so

  • Rise above emotions; focus on the issues
  • Build relationships; make a connection
  • Work toward mutual trust

Repair Damaged Relationships: Be sincere; apologize and forgive

  • Take responsibility for your actions and words
  • Accept an apology
  • Practice forgiveness; let go of the past

Use Constructive Language: Be mindful of the words you choose

  • Address conflict with the intent of resolution
  • When disagreeing, stick to the issues and don’t make a personal attack
  • Learn from others’ perspectives and feedback

Take Responsibility: Practice accountability in language and actions

  • Take ownership; use “I” statements
  • Don’t shift responsibility and blame onto others
  • Be trustworthy
  • Tell the truth

Source: Speak Your Peace.  Owned by the community.  Supported by Community Foundation of Greater Southwood County. Copyright 2008.