The words “I disagree with you,” are a great way to pick a fight. It’s basically a statement that voids the other person’s opinion and can leave the receiver feeling a little defensive– if not downright angry. When the declarative is spoken most people will either shut down and not share their point-of-view, or engage in a power struggle to win the battle. What we lose in the process is respectful dialogue that encourages innovation, collaboration and problem solving via shared information.
A simple replacement phrase can make all the difference. “I see your point of view. I just see it differently.” We don’t have to agree with somebody to understand their conclusion or respect their right to share an opinion. We can listen, follow their logic, and then share what information we have and the judgements we have made as a result of it.
Rephrasing a defensive sentence can open us up to new possibilities. Try it out this week and see where the high road leads.