Do you know how to disagree agreeably?

November 19, 2010
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You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when someone says something that you vehemently disagree with? The kind of thing that makes that blood vessel pop out of your neck or cause you to shift uncomfortably in your chair.

We’ve all been there.

But as we know, we can’t change other people, but we can change our reactions to what they say or do. And one of the best tools in our arsenal is to disagree agreeably.

The unexpected presents significant opportunities to make unique contributions. As these opportunities occur, we have the choice to speak up or remain silent. Voicing our opinions is inherently somewhat risky, yet remaining silent also comes with a cost. Our silence prevents others from benefiting from our ideas and experiences.

We have a choice in how we respond to stressful situations. Our choices affect our performance, health and happiness.

One method for responding to someone who’s made a statement you disagree with is to say, “I can appreciate your point of view.” This should then be followed by one of seven techniques for illustrating your position, i.e. your evidence for your belief:

  • Demonstrations
  • Examples
  • Facts
  • Exhibits
  • Analogies
  • Testimonials
  • Statistics

Never preface your evidence with “I can appreciate your point of view BUT” or “I can appreciate your point of view HOWEVER.” As soon as you say that, the other person in the conversation is already formulating their retort and not giving your point of view any credibility.

Do you have an example of a time in which you successfully used this technique for disagreeing agreeably? Let us know in the comments!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

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2 Responses to Do you know how to disagree agreeably?

  1. Scott G. on November 19, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Don’t forget the cushion. . . “The school that people choose to support is often a source of significant pride and also a thing that people identify themselves by. It has been my experience that shouting “GO GREEN!!!” in much more rewarding than singing the U of M fight song. :)

  2. Erica Finley on December 7, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Scott, I disagree agreeably with your statement. ;) Thanks for the comment!

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