Learn To Disagree Without Being Disagreeable

We know this is a cliché, but it expresses an important truth, whether you’re arguing with a friend or doing a media interview.

Recently we heard on national TV a beautiful power phrase.  We wish we could remember who used it, but here it is anyway:  “I’m sure you will agree.”

The phrase worked because, even though the two individuals were not in agreement on every point, the power phrase moved them toward common ground.

We recently heard two examples that use the same approach.  Rachel Maddow, in an interview with former chairman of the Republican National Committee, pointed out the Republican leadership–which had just experienced two embarrassments when rank-and-file members did not follow–was off to a shaky start.

Steele adroitly replied, saying in effect, “It’s early in the game.  I’m sure Republicans will understand these early problems.  I sure most Americans will understand, and I’m sure you will too.”  In effect, he nudged Maddow into taking a generous position.

Another example of agreeable disagreement:  Eugene Robinson, a noted journalist, was being interviewed by Chris Matthews.  Matthews expressed an opinion, to which Robinson replied, “That’s one way to slice it.  Here’s another way to slice it.”

This response worked because it gave Robinson breathing room to spell out a contrary view.

When you disagree, use these power statements, and be sure to be agreeable.

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