Tuesday, November 09 2010
Have you ever found yourself in an argument, scrambling to defend yourself? And then the harder you defend your position, the more ground you lose? There are three powerful phrases that you can use to counter the attack and diffuse the argument.
OKAY. Saying "okay" to something is not agreement. It's not saying, "Yes, you're right, I'm totally inept and should have done what you wanted." Okay is simply an acknowledgment that you've heard what was said. If someone continues to argue his position and you continue to say "okay," eventually the energy of the conflict will fizzle out.
YOU MAY BE RIGHT. Saying "you may be right" is not agreement either. The unspoken finish to that sentences is "and you may be wrong." "You may be right" is just another acknowledgment. It reminds of a standard answer used in the legal world when answering questions in writing: "Defendant neither admits or denies the allegations as set forth in the Complaint."
THANKS FOR SHARING THAT WITH ME. Again, "thanks for sharing that with me" says that you've heard the opinion that the other person has felt compelled to share.
The key to using any one of these phrases is to repeat them. Do not go beyond them. Don't add any extra words. Looking for an argument is like fishing. A good fisherman knows the type of fish he wants to catch. He knows what kind of bait the fish likes to bite on. He know that if the first bait he throws into the water doesn't work that he can change the bait. Good fisherman change the bait on the hook until he finds something the fish will bite.
If you go beyond those simple phrases, you're hooked and you will find yourself being reeled into a conflict that you want to avoid.