How To Disagree In A Conversation Or In A Letter

What You Say When You Disagree With Someone
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

One of the best ways to improve your verbal skills–which can be used in letter writing or in conversations, arguments, or media interviews—is to listen to interviews with experienced individuals on TV or radio. If you listen carefully, you will hear words and phrases that you can use to build up your own vocabulary.

The way to make these new additions your very own is to try them out yourself right away in  conversations. By the time you have used them a dozen times, they will be a part of your working vocabulary.

Recently Robert Reich, who’s a well-known economist and former U.S. Secretary of Labor, was part of a panel discussion about the economy.  Reich used a little jewel which I have begun to use myself.

It’s very short, but it works. Here it is: “I want to agree with you on that…but…) One of the cameras was on the man he disagreed with—another economist.  His expression showed that he was disarmed by Reich’s opener. The reason. Reich showed him respect.

Not too long ago I used a version of this expression when I was on a panel. One of the panelists, a well-known professional speaker whom I have known for years, made a statement that I disagreed with.  I prefaced my comment by saying: “I hesitate to disagree with Dan, who knows a lot about this business, but my experience has been different.”

The next time you disagree with someone, and want to make your own view known, preface your comment by showing respect for the person you disagree with.

 

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“Lincoln on Communication” by Gene Griessman
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–Brad McRae, “The Seven Strategies of Master Presenters”

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