Disagree thoughtfully and win conversationsMentorKraft
When two people believe opposite things, chances are that one of them is wrong. It pays to find out if that someone is you. The thoughtful disagreement comes in here, in here your goal is not to convince the other party that you are right – it is to find out which view is true and decide what to do about it. In thoughtful disagreement, both parties are motivated by the genuine fear of missing an important perspective. Exchanges in which you are trying to see what the other person is seeing and they see what you are seeing.
To do this well, approach the conversation in a way that conveys that you are just trying the understand. Use questions rather than statements. Conduct the discussion in a calm and dispassionate manner, and encourage the other person to do that as well. Remember you are not arguing you are openly exploring what is true.
To me, it’s pointless when people get angry with each other when they disagree because most disagreements aren’t threats as much as opportunities to learning. That doesn’t mean you blindly accept other’s conclusions. You should be open-minded and assertive at the same time. A good exercise to make sure you do what you are doing well is to describe back to the person you are disagreeing with their perspective. If they agree you have got it, then you are in good shape. I would also recommend that both parties observe a “two-minute rule” in which neither interrupts the other, so both have their time to get their thoughts out.
Some people worry that operating this way is time-consuming. Working through disagreements does take time but it’s just about the way you can spend it. There are lots of people who will disagree with you, and it would be unproductive to consider all their views. However, it doesn’t pay to be open-minded with everyone. What is counterproductive is spinning in your head about what’s going on, which most people do, or wasting time disagreeing past the point of diminishing returns. When that happens, move on to more productive ways of getting to a mutual understanding – for example, you might agree to disagree.
Why doesn’t thoughtful disagreement like this occur? Because most people are instinctively reluctant to disagree. For example when two people go to a restaurant and one says he likes the food, the other is more likely to say “ I like it too”, or not say anything at all.
Holding wrong opinions in one’s head and making bad decisions based on them instead of having a thoughtful disagreement is one of the greatest tragedies of our times. Being able to thoughtfully disagree would so easily lead to radically improved decision making in all areas – public polices, politics, science, personal relationships, business and more…
Disagree thoughtfully !