How To Disagree: My Favorite Agree-Disagree Statement

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

Whatyousay.com gives you a choice of power statements that you can use when you are in an argument, or when you are making a presentation, and someone objects to your idea.   The goal is to help you become a strong presenter, someone whom people respect.

Choose which power statements suit your personality, and which ones work best in a particular situation.

But you certainly need to have at least one agree-disagree statement at the ready, or you will spend your life being run over by verbal bullies. What’s worse, your good ideas may go unheard, or stupid ideas get adopted, and you know how frustrating that can be.

Here’s my favorite:
Ken (or Susan, or Becky), I see it differently. Let me tell you three reasons why.”

This agree-disagree statement gives you several advantages: One. If you use the other person’s name up front, you personalize the discussion. It is respectful, and it’s far less likely that the discussion will turn into a nasty quarrel.

Two. “I see it differently” is not harsh or dogmatic. It is far different from saying, “You’re wrong.”  The word “see” presupposes that you would be willing to take a different view of the matter in the presence of new or different information.

Three. If you pre-number your reasons, you are more likely to get a chance to offer your whole argument without being cut off. No guarantees, but pre-numbering is a safeguard.  It does require some quick thinking, however, but say “two” or “three” anyway.  If you know what you’re talking about, you should be able to  cast your argument into bullet-points.  But don’t take advantage of the concept. Be succinct.

Four.  It’s not complicated.  How difficult is it for you to learn to use the bare-bones version, “I see it differently?”

Five.  It shows some courage.  I love it when someone goes against the current, and states that they see things differently.

Some of the agree-disagree statements recommended by whatyousay.com advise you to state what you agree with before you tell what you disagree with. The concept presented here allows you to do that. For example, you can say, “Ray, I see it differently. (pause) I happen to agree with you about thus and so. But I see at least three problems with your argument, etc. etc.”

This concept is very useful in media interviews because a skilled interviewer may set up the question by making a statement that he or she knows you will disagree with. Occasionally it is used in a job interview, so be prepared to say, “I see it differently….”

You may not win with this agree-disagree statement, but it will definitely put you in scoring position.

—Gene Griessman is an award-winning professional speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-435-2225 or abe@mindspring.com Learn more about Gene Griessman at presidentlincoln.com and atlantaspeakersbureau.com

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