by Dr. John C. Maxwell
Discussions can be healthy, since they have the potential to build relationships and result in a "win" for everyone. On the other hand, arguments are rarely good. Why? They are forceful attempts to change another persons point of view, and thus result in a "winner" and a"loser."
Arguments always cause some damage, even if you "win." The next time you find yourself involved in a conflict of opinion, use these guidelines to make it a DISCUSSIONresolving the issue while building the relationship.
- Welcome the Disagreement. The other person may have a perspective you havent considered, so be thankful for it. Maybe this is your chance to be corrected before making a mistake.
- Distrust Your First Inclination to Defend Yourself. Defensiveness is often a natural reaction. But be carefulwhen you justify yourself, its hard to change your position later. Plus, youll miss the benefit of the other persons ideas.
- Control Your Temper. Getting angry always makes communication harder, not easier. So simmer down before you blow your top.
- Listen First. Give your "opponent" a chance to talk. Dont defend or debate. Build bridges of understanding, not barriers of misunderstanding.
- Look for Areas of Agreement. Dwell on areas where you agree. This establishes common ground, helping you find a solution good for both of you.
- Be Honest. Look for areas where you can admit error, then do it. This disarms others and reduces their defensiveness.
- Promise to Think Over Their Ideas. Tell the person that you will consider his point of view, and actually do it. He may be right, after all.
- Thank Them Sincerely for Their Desire to Help. Most people who take time to disagree with you are interested in positive results, the same as you are. Welcome that.
- Postpone Action So You Both Can Think Through the Problem. If need be, suggest another meeting. To prepare, ask yourself some hard questions about your "side," and focus on a mutually beneficial solution.
- Be Willing to Agree to Disagree. Sometimes you may need to accept your difference of opinion and move on. Be flexible whenever possible. Follow Thomas Jeffersons advice: "In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current."
via INJOY Interactive: www.injoy.com
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