The Six Steps for Disagreeing Agreeably
Step #1 : Give others the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the person who made that outrageous generalization isn't really insensitive, maybe this person has had a painful experience that made him/her overreact.
Step #2: Listen to learn and truly understand why this person holds this belief. We must let him/her know we've heard and we're genuinely trying to see things from his/her perspective.
Step #3: Always take responsibility for our own feelings. Make a commitment to respond using "I" statements. When we begin with "you," we seem blaming and confrontational and immediately put the other person on the defensive - this reduces the chance of our point of view being heard.
Step #4 : "Cushion" the differing opinion starting with "I hear what you're saying..." or "I appreciate your view on..." Again, begin with "I," NOT "You said..." or it will sound confrontational.
Step #5: Minimize/eliminate using the words "but" and "however". Instead, once we have cushioned the other person's opinion, use "and" or pause for a moment before responding.
Step #6: State our point of view with relevant and factual evidence, there are many forms of evidence that can amplify our position on topics. Keep our emotions out of the equation by using the following formula:
- Think first:
- What do I think?
- Why do I think that?
- What evidence do I have to support?
- Then speak:
- "One example (or my evidence) is..."
- "This shows that..."
- "Therefore, I think..."
Consistently practicing this structure will help us express our opinions in ways that allow for acceptance, agreeable outcomes, and improved productivity.