When someone espouses a point of view that is different from what you
believe, or tells you that you were wrong about something, or
expresses their anger to you in some less-than-professional manner,
your automatic response may not be the most effective one to employ.
In order to understand this, let's first revisit the Linda Larsen
Theory of Life. I believe that we are all driven by two basic needs:
The need to LOOK GOOD and BE RIGHT.
(Many of our conversations are built around these needs irrespective
of the needs of the other person.)
Something has to give here, and you are just the one to make it
happen. All you have to do is to make certain that the first thing out
of your mouth is a statement that in some way acknowledges what the
other person believes or what they are feeling. Notice I didn't say
"agree with them" - rather that you hear them and respect their
feelings. Here are some examples:
- "I can certainly understand why that would make sense to you."
- "I can see how frustrating that would have been."
- "I hear you. You're saying..." (Here you repeat basically what they
just said, only in your words)
- "Sounds like you have some information I don't have. Please tell me
what that is.
- When you're finished, I'll share some information I have. But you go
- "You sound very committed to this position. I'm interested in hearing
what led you to this conclusion."
In these examples, you see, you didn't first disagree with the other
person by telling them they are wrong. Rather you acknowledged them
and let them speak. By doing so, you have just accomplished 4 things:
- You honored their need to look good.
- You strengthened your relationship rather
than weakened it.
- You created a possibility that you might
actually hear something you didn't know (what a concept!) and...
- You have dramatically increased the odds that
the other person will listen to you when they are finished.
And by the way, when you respond in this
proactive, effective manner, you will look reeeeeeeally good!
Linda Larsen can be contacted at
www.lindalarsen.com or email