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Disagree in Style

Feb 02, 2023


Caught in a conversation where you don’t agree, but not sure how - or when - to challenge the flow? Here's something to try - and 3 reasons why:

Something to try...

Try saying something like: “I think I see things a little differently. Do you mind if I take a moment to share a different perspective?”

Once you’ve shared your point of view, try weaving the different perspectives into the next part of the conversation. You can do this by summarising the first perspective, summarising your own, and then posing a question like: “How does understanding those two points of view help frame our conversation?”

... and 3 Reasons Why

  1. When you have a different point of view, particularly in a group setting, it’s easy to sit there thinking to yourself, “Am I the only one who doesn’t agree?!”. (Or even worse, “This is such a load of BS!”) The unhelpful assumption here is that disagreement is unhelpful, or won’t go down well. By taking a more thoughtful approach, though, it needn’t be about “your view versus my view” or “right versus wrong”. Instead, the conversation becomes: “Let’s make sure we hear all the perspectives before we make any kind of decision”.
  2. By asking people for permission to share your point of view, you gain their commitment to listen. You also are implicitly allowing them the chance to say, “Can we just take 5 minutes first to finish this point?” In other words, you’re not just asking for permission, you’re negotiating the timing.
  3. Framing your interjection like this is also a great way to get a steady foothold yourself. It reframes the moment from “this is me blurting out my disagreement” to “this is me making sure we explore a range of different views”.

Let me know how you go!



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