Strategy. Innovation. Brand.

Disagreeing Effectively

Let’s say you’re having an argument and your opponent has stated his position clearly. You’d like to persuade him to change his position. But you’re working against the consistency principle — once your opponent has stated a position, inertia keeps him from changing it. Your argument needs to be clear and compelling but it also needs to provide a way for your opponent to change positions gracefully. While it may be tempting, making your opponent feel small or cornered is usually unsuccessful. Remember, you’re interested in persuading, not humiliating.  Similarly, making your argument overly abstract doesn’t do much good. You need to get personal and stay positive.  Learn more in the video.

This tip has a lot to do with the consistency principle — and how to overcome it.  You can find more on the consistency principle here.

2 Responses to Disagreeing Effectively

  • Hey Travis, I really enjoy your communication tips on disagreeing effectively. I think your message is “right-on” but your delivery could be more impressive if it was captured with a higher production value.

    In today’s internet video world I believe that business professionals have become accustomed to polished production values. People look as well as listen and unfortunately, may also judge the content of the message with the quality of the production.

    I know that budget considerations dictate the amount of investment that can be spent on a video production but I’d like to suggest that perhaps we could come up with some affordable alternatives that could greatly improve the overall image of you communications.

    If you have the time I would like to get together with you and discuss some options that I believe could improve the look of your presentations.

    Dave Westin

  • I love this one. I particularly like “Can you help me understand why that’s important.” I have another phrase that I use in similar situations: “Let me play that back so that I understand fully.” It shows you’re taking the conversation seriously (because you really should be doing so) and can help expose inconsistencies in the argument.

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