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You’ll Learn:

  • Practices that help you engage in difficult conversations with more confidence
  • Self-regulation techniques to help you express yourself authentically under pressure
  • Relational techniques to help you meet others in their own style of argument
  • Theories and frameworks that help you approach challenging cultural topics in new ways

This Course Includes: 

  • Weekly live sessions with expert facilitator Sara Ness
  • Bespoke techniques from Authentic Relating, Circling, Mediation and more that you can use in day to day life
  • A chance to have authentic conversations with people from around the world
  • Regular sessions in a small group to practice and hone your skills
  • A workbook, live recordings and reading lists

Price & Dates: £295 / $395 (scholarship applications here). Course runs on Tuesdays starting 5 April, 2022

How can we relate authentically in a world that’s tearing itself apart? What skills do we need to truly understand perspectives that differ from our own, and in turn, how can we invite people to consider other ways of thinking? 

It’s all easier said than done. The culture wars and our growing levels of political polarisation don’t just divide nations: they split friends and family. As the debates over vaccination, politics, gender, race, and identity politics increase, many of us are struggling to navigate these conversations.

Arguing over these polarising issues with a win/lose mentality risks damaging our relationships and deepening the rifts that divide us. So how do we have a different kind of conversation; one that isn’t about winning, but about authentic connection that takes us somewhere new? 

In this 6-week course, we’ll give you tools to help you resolve some of the biggest communication questions of our time. For example,

“How do I even start talking about my perspectives and ideas?”

“Why does every conversation I have about current affairs turn into a fight?”

“How can I relate with people who don’t make sense to me, and don’t want to hear me out?”

Cultural polarisation – the extent to which people follow their own identity groups and vilify others – has increased drastically over the last few years. More than ever, we need tools for talking with people we don’t understand, or who don’t understand us, in a way that can lead to more connection instead of more argument.

The course is led by world-renowned trainer, facilitator, and community creator Sara Ness. Over the last 10 years, she has used the powerful experiential tools of Authentic Relating and Circling to create engagement between individuals and groups of all kinds, through gender issues, equity conversations, polarisation conflicts, and more. These practices create an embodied sense of empathy and shared understanding, aimed at reaching true dialogos, that can transform any interaction from contentious to connective.

Along with Authentic Relating and Circling practices, we’ll get to employ techniques from mediation, Internal Family Systems, polyvagal theory, Nonviolent Communication, and more. We’ll also explore lessons from some of history’s most skilled conversationalists and negotiators.

Sara Ness is a facilitator, teacher, and community-builder who is internationally notorious for having popularized the field of Authentic Relating. Among other things, she co-founded and ran two of the longest-running AR communities in the world, including Authentic Revolution. She also compiled the source text for Authentic Relating, and built an online platform for AR and Circling practice that has run events for more than 1200 consecutive days. 

Sara has worked with tens of thousands of students in sectors from Google to Mindvalley to Burning Man, teaching authentic leadership and authentic communication. She trains people to become Authentic Relating facilitators, and is passionate about exposing the joy of human connection and exploring our creative potential through relationship.

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Course Structure

The course begins on April 5, 2022 and will run for six weeks on Tuesdays at 8pm London time / 3pm New York / 7am Melbourne and for two hours. Each session will  contain a mixture of content (theory and knowledge), examples, and real-time practice to apply the skills you learn. We will focus on key models and techniques to help you in the hardest conversations, which you can take away and use immediately with family and friends.

Sessions will be recorded so you can catch up in cas you miss one. You will also meet weekly with a small group of three or four others on the course to practice what you’re learning. You’ll receive weekly challenges, access to recordings of the sessions, and supportive resources including a workbook.

The course is designed to help you approach polarised issues as a more effective communicator; able to visit the country of either side and speak to those who do not wish to speak with us. It is about understanding the psychological and relational bases for our conflicts, and walking across ideological lines to a place of deeper connection.

The course is structured around helping you understand and navigate conflict from three levels: the internal, the relational, and the philosophical.

The Internal

  • Identify your motivations (what’s at stake for you) in any conversation
  • Explore when, how, and why to reveal vulnerability
  • Self-regulate so that you can avoid escalating, freezing, or collapsing under pressure

The Relational

  • Meet others in their own style of argument
  • Set up conversations for the best possible results
  • Develop strategies for planning conversations ahead of time
  • Know when to communicate, and when to walk away
  • Use setting context, reframes, and “I statement aikido” to unwind convoluted conversations
  • Play Authentic Relating Games that put you directly in others’ shoes

The Philosophical

  • Explore three gates of navigating polarized conversations: the True, the Necessary, and the Kind. 
  • Use subject-object distinctions to separate beliefs from truth
  • Understand the context, content, and concern happening above and below any interaction
  • Explore some of history’s most skilled conversationalists and negotiators