Nine Tools of Civility

Nine Tools of Civility


*Please click on the tabs to learn more about the nine tools of civility.

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


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

  • Seek to understand; hear what is said
  • Ask effective questions
  • Respect the person and his/her view through your words
    and body language
  • Give thoughful attention; avoid distractions such as:
    your emotion, multi-tasking, or formulationg 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

Be Agreeable

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


Be sincere; apologize and forgive

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

Give Constructive Criticism

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