the disagreement. Remember the slogan,
"When two partners always agree, one of them is not
necessary." If there is some point you haven't
thought about, be thankful if it is brought to your
attention. Perhaps this disagreement is your
opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious
Distrust your first instinctive impression.
Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is
to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and
watch our for your first reaction. It may be you at
your worst, not your best.
Control your temper. Remember, you can
measure the size of a person by what makes him or her
Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to
talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend,
or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to
build bridges of understanding. Don't build higher
barriers of misunderstanding.
Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard
your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on
which you agree.
Be honest. Look for areas where you can admit
error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes.
It will help disarm your opponents and reduce
Promise to think over your opponents' ideas and study
them carefully. And mean it. Your
opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this
stage to agree to think about their points than to move
rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your
opponents can say: "We tried to tell you, but
you wouldn't listen."
Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest.
Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is
interested in the same things you are. Think of them
as people who really want to help you, and you may turn
your opponents into friends.
Postpone action to give both sides time to think
through the problem. Suggest that a new meeting
be held later that day or the next day, where all the
facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for
this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions:
Could my opponents be right? Partly right? Is
there truth or merit in their position or argument?
Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will
it just relieve any frustration? Will my reaction
drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to
me? Will my reaction elevate the estimation good
people have of me? Will I win or lose? What
price will I have to pay if I win? If I am quiet
about it, will the disagreement blow over? Is this
difficult situation an opportunity for me?
from the magazine Bits and Pieces, date unknown