We recently had a TMD about Disagreeing Agreeably. It is a great skill to learn in a professional setting, but also for all other aspects of life as well. If you are not able to logically and respectfully disagree with others, hurt feelings and unproductivity are bound to follow. Nancy from Dale Carnegie had a few great tips for learning how to disagree agreeably.

Her first tip was to remember that it’s harder to take something back in than let it out. She drove this point home by having teams race to empty a tube of toothpaste… and put it back in the tube. Be sure to think about how your words affect others before letting them out!

We also have to be sure that we are not the problem! Nancy said that people tend to fall into three categories: passive, aggressive, and assertive. No matter what the subject matter, or how passionate you feel, try to be assertive with your opinions and thoughts. Aggression might cause others to avoid interacting with you, and passivity will allow others to walk all over you. We want a happy medium of professionalism and passion!

Nancy gave us six rules for Disagreeing Agreeably:

  1. Give others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. Listen to learn and truly understand why the other person holds their belief.
  3. Always take responsibility for your feelings. Do this by using “I” statements.
  4. Use a cushion. Some examples are “That’s an interesting viewpoint” (not sarcastic!) or “I appreciate what you’re saying.”
  5. Eliminate the word “but” or “however”. Any cushions are negated by these words.
  6. Use relevant and factual evidence to back up your point of view. This is done with the follow items:

Demonstrations

Examples

Facts

Exhibits

Analogies

Testimonials

Statistics

Be sure to know your audience, and use the most credible form of evidence.

This is a lot of information, and some of us might have some bad habits to break (it’s amazing how often you will say “but” when disagreeing with someone!), but if you put these skills to the test, you might find some great results!

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