I was 18 when my mom tried to get me to drive from Minnesota to Colorado with our family of six in one small car.
Six people that happened to include a brand new baby brother and a two year old toddler. Sounds fun, right?
Stuck in the back of the car with babies for days on end?
I told her there was no way I was going to get in that car.
She didn’t talk to me for 3 months while I lived at home for that summer. That was the last time I would live there.
I see this kind of recurring theme in conversations, over and over again.
Our need to be right at whatever cost, even if that cost happens to be our most precious relationships.
We value rightness over people.
How right we are validates our place in society.
Like I knew something someone didn’t, so now I’m “one up”.
That idea leads to a “my way or the highway” attitude and is by far the least constructive approach to influence constructive and lasting relationships .
So what do we need to do? Start with clarity.
1. CLARITY OVER AGREEMENT.
Of course there are times you will never agree with a certain someone. And you don’t have to. The point to leveraging your perspective is to stop trying to always be right and instead approach conversations aiming to understand.
In order to overcome any objection, you have to understand it as if it were your own.
Even if you don’t agree with an idea, it should be crystal clear to you why someone would be able to believe that alternative perspective.
Gaining this clarity will provide the confidence you need to approach your “opponent” as an ally, and be seen as someone who “gets them”.
We like people who are like us, that is the law of the universe. (forgive me for saying universe)
We love people who make us feel understood. That said, whenever you find yourself in a gridlock, I can guarantee that you did not enter that conversation with clarity.
2. YOU'RE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT.
If you’re approaching a conversation thinking they’re already wrong, then you’ve lost.
The best thing about approaching with clarity is that you might also be able to learn something.
Any real attempt to reach the humanity of another person will create goodwill and open conversation.
Great progress starts when one person is willing to bring what is good to the table. From there you can lead the interaction.
So, in order to have a constructive conversation you can’t approach as if they’re already wrong.
One solid truth is that people don’t know what they don't know. Present company included. There are amazing gifts that can come to you if you keep your perspective open to gaining new information!
3. BOTH CAN WIN
“My way or the Highway” makes you the loser because when you meet others interests, you'll find your interests are met too.
When all you care about is winning it no longer becomes about the agreement you wish to seek but about how right you are and how wrong the other person is.
I’m all about winning but in a relationship the goal should never be what can I get outta this (like a victory).
That just divides us into the “haves” and the “have nots”. The whole point of a constructive disagreement is that we both move away from taking sides and ultimately end up understanding more than we did before.
There are no sides, there is simply humanity. The more that you can keep that as the focal point, the better your vision and desired outcome will be.
How good is it when people come together instead of deepening divide?
Real conversation catches fire.
4. THINK SLOW
When we hear something we tend to filter it through our own experience.
We subconsciously ask ourselves the questions, “Is this true?” or “Is this false?”. We think fast that way.
I want to encourage you to think slow instead.
You don’t need to decide if this is true or false because, newsflash, it’s not about you.
To influence others to act you must connect with a core desire within them, and that's often to give people the power to be heard and understood.
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