Having been in public speaking as both a speaker and as a coach, I can tell you that disagreements between individuals are going to happen. There is just no way around it. The thing to remember is that in business and life it is often important to remember that the person you are disagreeing with has an opinion that matters as much as yours. This is a hard concept because as humans we almost automatically believe that out ways and thoughts are better than anyone else ways and thoughts.
This especially true when facing conflict concerning a subject that is personal in nature or when it is something you feel strongly about, such as with a friend or family member or religion.
There are many other examples that can be used. The point is this: how can one person truly know what is best for another? Is being judgmental really going accomplish anything other than alienating a person or losing their respect altogether? These are very difficult questions to answer. The best way to avoid this type of outcome is to agree to disagree. Sounds hard but with the right mind set and some practice it can become easier.
The question you are probably asking yourself is: “What does it take to truly agree to disagree?” A great place to begin is to realize that we are all different. We base our thoughts, actions, life styles and other discussions on our personal life experiences and natural tendencies.
My reality is often different from yours but that does not mean mine is better just different. So, keeping an open mind is definitely key. This is a place where active listening really comes in handy. That is really listening without interruption, judgment, and listening with your whole body (body language) which lets the person know you are really listening.
Once the opinions are stated and there can be no consensus, this is where agreeing to disagree comes in. This is where the practice is needed. The key is to not hold a grudge or automatically think this person is not logical or does not have good reasoning skills simply because they do not see things the way you do. Place your ego aside and allow them their opinion and keep your own.
The next time this type of situation does occur, just think about what outcome you wish for beforehand. Strive to meet these goals but not to the point that it could cost you in the long run. Just agree to disagree.
Sonja Stetzler is a public speaking coach in Charlotte NC. While she knows that disagreements happen, it is still possible to ensure effective connecting between two individuals who don’t quite see eye to eye.