In his excellent book “Never Split the Difference“, Chris Voss offered this advice regarding negotiations (hostages in his case, but he presented it for business owners):
“He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of negotiation.”
If you can disagree with someone while still remaining a decent human being, it goes a long way toward helping people see your viewpoint.
In a recent podcast from Jamie Ivey, her and her guests talked about “how to engage in the nuance of political policies, and being careful not to dehumanize those we disagree with“.
You’ve seen it before, mostly on social media:
- “I can’t believe those people…”
- “How can anyone be such a moron?”
- “They are a unique kind of special”
You get the idea. People say these kinds of things to “the internet”, but people reading it will take it personally. If one of your Facebook friends was a big Obama supporter and you throw out “libtard”, you hit them right in the face whether you meant to or not. Was that your neighbor? Co-worker? Friend from church? Not good…
Not only is it mean, it’s ineffective. I believe that people can and should change their minds about issues, but you lose all credibility when you start name-calling.
When it comes to my friend circle, I have a handful of friends that I completely disagree with politically but I love to hear what they have to say on big issues because they come from a place of truth and caring. We debate on many issues with both of us wanting to move forward. It’s great.
Be that person to your friends.