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Surviving a Difference of Opinion


Most people shy away from talking about differences of opinion.  They do this because they’re worried about the conflict that it may generate.  This avoidance reduces good conversation and the ability to be exposed to a different point of view.  A difference of opinion is no more than two individuals looking at the world based on the values they have been taught, life experience they have encountered and their interpretation of information they have been exposed too.

If you desire to have more rewarding conversations, demonstrate your sincere interest in the people you’re talking with, show respect and make them feel comfortable so they can speak freely. Here are three steps to “Surviving a Difference of Opinion.”

  1. Show tolerance.  Don’t let what other people say drive you emotionally.  When a stimulus hits, you still have an opportunity to be in control.  Take advantage of this opportunity. (See my last blog for more on this topic).
  2. Learn how to ask meaningful questions without putting the person on the defensive. Work on obtaining a clear understanding of where they are coming from.  If you learn the art of asking the right questions including how to ask the question, people will answer almost any question you ask.
  3. Listen to what has heart and meaning.  To truly listen to another you must engage all of your assets – your ears, eyes and emotions, so you truly take in what the other person is saying.

If you practice these three simple steps, you will be able to truly engage in conversations with people who have opinions that are different than yours like never before.

Carpe diem,
James R. Dawson
Managing Partner, ADI Performance

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