Dealing With Conflict And Disagreement

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• Arguments are sometimes inevitable but we can argue best if we use “steel manning” rather than attacking a strawman. Create the best version of your opponent’s argument by breaking it down, then help them build that argument, actively arguing on your counterpart’s behalf. You will more quickly reach harmonious agreement, or at least disagree more civilly.

• Use the fogging technique to manage people who are aggressive or unreasonable. By giving people a minimal, calm response that they cannot easily engage with, you defuse tension. Listen carefully for a kernel of truth, repeat the truth calmly and neutrally, but don’t add any new information and keep maintaining calm.

• The Ransberger pivot is a way to “win an argument without arguing.” Listen carefully to start, look for points of commonality, and keep returning to any ways in which you and the other person are actually on the same page.

• The “feel, felt, found” technique is another a simple way to mitigate conflict. Acknowledge how they feel, point to another person who has felt similarly in the past, then show what you have found works based on how this person managed the issue.

• Finally, the agreement frame allows us to gracefully disagree with someone without destroying rapport. Use terms like I respect, I appreciate and I agree to signal an intention to cooperate. Agree, acknowledge their position, and acknowledge both your desired outcomes, using “and” rather than “but.”

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