4 Healthy Debate Practices


  • “One of the most profound things that you can do throughout the conflict is taking turns. “
  • Do you often shy away from conflict, scared that it won’t end in resolution? Watch this training on healthy debate practices to strengthen your communication skills during crucial conversations. 
  • Make sure you share your feelings and your interests, and your needs and your expectations.”
  • Do you want to feel like you’re authentically expressing who you really are? Listen to this episode to learn how and why now’s the time to start doing that.
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in the Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

1. Give Them The Space to Say Their Peace

I liked the phrase take turns. It means you take a turn. Many of you are so silent in what you really think, feel, need, expect, deserve, or want. Many of you never speak up for yourself. Many of you get bulldozed every single conversation, and you keep blaming them for bulldozing versus speaking up. Many people do not participate in the conflict. They just listen. They get mad. Passive-aggressive. They quit. They stonewall. They refuse to set boundaries. They refuse to ideate, and they just get more and more disconnected, Disengaged, and Stop participating. And if you’ve ever been in a situation like that with someone else, it drives you mad. It’s like, “I can’t believe they’re stonewalling me. I can’t believe they’re not participating” And it gets very, very upsetting. For me, that’s a big one for me. When someone, like, I know that triggers me when they won’t participate in a respectful process. Ooh, I got to breathe. I got to move. I got to self-talk, baby; emotional regulation, because that one will get me going, but I see it all the time. And so, take turns means you take your turn and you set up the space that they’re going to make theirs. You ask the questions to draw them out. You give them the platform to speak. You express what you need to express. You take a beat and you don’t wait.

2. Don’t Rely on Their Validation

Listen, this is so important if you want to be a great communicator. After you’ve expressed what you needed to express, please don’t expect them to comply, accept, validate, or say yes to what you just said. Think about it this way. You just got to take your turn. Now they get to take their turn. Then you get to move towards resolution, but what you just said was not the resolution. What you just said was your piece. You took your turn. Now they get to take their turn. In taking their turn, their turn is not set up that they have to agree or comply. They just get their turn. And when they get their turn, you listen. When they get their turn, you reflect. That’s the key. Most people, when you take your turn, you expect compliance. And that’s where the whole thing falls apart in conflict; that they have to do it your way all the time, immediately. Oh, man that sucks. And I know you’ve been there before. But the reality is, most people think they’ve been there before, but don’t realize they put others there before, too. And we have to take ownership of that. Again, this is not Brendon Burchard being perfect to you. I’ve done this a million times accidentally. I mean, I don’t know how many conversations I’ve had where I feel like I’ve made a great argument and they should just go, yes. And then they don’t and I’m like, how can you not agree with that? And then I argue with them and it devolves from there instead of builds from there because I didn’t make sure they took their turn now that I have vented or I’ve expressed. Now they get an equal part to share back. And when they share back, even if they didn’t agree with me yet and I just want to say yes, I’ve got to go “Okay, Brendon. Fine. Feelings, Interests, needs, expectations. Listen for those. Reflect those back, because if they feel heard right now, then we can move to resolution.” So keep taking turns.

3. Make Sure You Take Your Turn

Please do me a favor. Make sure you take your turn.

Make sure you share your feelings and your interests, and your needs and your expectations. Make sure that you breathe and manage your self-talk as you’re doing that.

A lot of you never speak up for yourself. And that makes conflicts actually worse because you’re training the other person to keep taking their turn and not listening to yours. So now their expectation is, Oh, well, you don’t share, so I’m just going to share and think you should comply. And we train the other person because we never set our own boundaries. We never use our voice. We don’t speak up and I can tell you, I’ve had a tremendous number of clients who we had to work on this, you know, throughout our coaching practice with them.

4. Share Your Real Feelings

Just like often, did you share your real thoughts, feelings, needs, desires and dreams in that conversation? And often they say no.

And what we do instead of making them feel bad for it, we go back to identity and ask, “Do you want to feel like you’re living your authentic life? Do you want to feel like you’re authentically expressing who you really are?” Because maybe now’s the time to start doing that.

Even if. And why do people not do that? Well, you and I both know because they haven’t had this training yet. So they don’t know how. The last time they go, Brendon, they say The last time I tried she railroaded me, he railroaded me. They bullied me. You don’t understand. The last time I tried… I’m like, I know. But just like riding a bike, it takes a lot of practice. And there’s some fundamentals and principles we’ve talked about that I hope will help you next time. 

You know, in almost all of the research and communication, one of the most profound things that you can do throughout conflict is taking turns.

You know, just taking turns. And these are ancient traditions right? You get the talking stick passed to you at the campfire and you feel like you belong to the tribe. If you don’t get the stick and you get to talk, you don’t feel as connected to the tribe. Like, this is old-school stuff. We just forget to do it. Common sense is not always common practice. Make sure the other person got their turn and make sure you take your turn. And even if that creates messiness in the first couple of times, you’ll learn to respect the process. Maybe if you have a willing participant or a team member who’s watching this. If you’re in GrowthDay, get GrowthDay for them, for your team, or your enterprise and let them watch this; and you can learn new ways of doing this together. That’s the hope. That’s the power of personal growth.