Foster courteous discussion, regardless of disagreements.

Tough conversations are part of being a city leader. Join this pre-conference workshop the morning of June 22 to learn how to effectively have discussions while respecting differing opinions.

alt=""Part One: Speak Your Peace
9-10:15 a.m.

First, discover how the Speak Your Peace model uses nine simple points of civility to approach tough conversations with your community. You’ll dive into case studies featuring Duluth, MN; Sisters, OR; Eau Claire, WI; and Madeline Island, WI where local leaders used this model to engage in open, difficult conversations while maintaining civility and focusing on listening. You’ll connect and apply the model through conversation in Zoom breakouts with other city leaders.

Part Two: Love Your Enemies
10:30-11:45 a.m.

Then, you’ll gain skills to approach difficult conversations and disagreements. Based on Arthur Brooks’s bestselling book, Love Your Enemies asks leaders to follow five simple rules to beat contempt while respecting the people who disagree with us.  During this session, you’ll reflect on your personal skills when approaching those who hold a different opinion to you. Finally, as bipartisan local leaders, learn how these rules will help ensure that you have the skills to lead across your community and hold the difficult conversations with credibility, respect, and trust. Come to this session ready to discuss your experiences with peers.

During this two-part pre-conference, you will:

  • Understand the nine simple points of civility used for productive community conversations.
  • Practice using Arthur Brooks’s five rules for overcoming a culture of contempt.
  • Develop skills for disagreeing with others without being disagreeable.


Dave Bartholomay, Program Coordinator, Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution and Mayor of Circle Pines
Rob Karwath, President & CEO, North Coast Communications


Everyone is welcome to attend both parts. If you can only attend one, we recommend that city staff choose Speak Your Peace and elected officials choose Love Your Enemies.


June 22 — 9-11:45 a.m.


Included with full 2021 Virtual Annual Conference registration.


Return to the main Annual Conference page.