Nancy Eberhardt knows a thing or two about moderating difficult conversations. She also knows about the power that can result from meaningful dialogue. So, when Nancy—the CEO of Pathwise Partners and a consultant specializing in leadership development and executive coaching—heard about One Small Step, she knew it was something she had to jump into. And with two feet.

Nancy shared her experience in a two-part blog (Uncommon Candor), which we are pleased to reprint below. Thanks, Nancy!

September 25, 2023

I was honored to be interviewed as part of StoryCorps’ One Small Step program—a moderated conversation between two people who see the world from different perspectives, politically and other ways. StoryCorps proclaims that “storytelling is a natural antidote to polarization.” It was an opportunity to become better at connecting with others who hold views dissimilar to my own.

Prior to the taping, One Small Step sent written materials to help me (and my fellow participant) prepare for the conversation, including a list of sample questions designed to elicit deep and personal stories about why we hold our beliefs. Even my natural curiosity would not have generated such fine questions. My favorites were:

  • Why did you want to do this interview today?
  • Who has been the most influential person in your life? What did they teach you?
  • Is there something about my beliefs you don’t agree with but still respect?
  • Do you ever feel misunderstood by people with different beliefs than you? How so?
  • Do you ever feel troubled by people with the same beliefs as you and how they communicate those beliefs to others?
  • Was I who you expected me to be?
  • Aren’t these great learning questions that open opportunities to share stories and experiences? I feel more prepared for almost any tough communication with these added considerations.

    Wondering how my conversation went? Tune in next week…

    October 2, 2023

    I mused last week about being interviewed as part of StoryCorps’ One Small Step: a moderated conversation between two people with differing political views to build better connections between us.
    I was blown away by the openness and self-awareness my interview partner showed in sharing the life stories that shaped her views. She talked about her fears as a child of a military family, living in foreign countries, and moving often. She freely offered her experience as an unwed mother. I was grateful when she shared her religious perspective that requires her to love all people. And she was very interested in my stories, readily disclosing her inexperience with someone of my background, religion, and upbringing. 

    We found so many more similarities than differences. StoryCorps gave us a way to be authentically curious about the origins of each other’s beliefs.

    Give it a try. And let me know how it goes.