I was recently in a meeting where I had a difference of opinion with one of my clients. So after he was done sharing his view, I threw my challenge flag. Then I realized we were not in an NFL game. So I had to actually say the words, ‘I challenge that perspective.’ Afterwhich, I introduced my perspective.
Then, like an episode of Seinfeld, or Murder She Wrote, the plot thickened.
Someone else in the room announced that he challenged my challenge. Which left me in a challenging position.
I had 2 options.
- I could explain myself further to ensure that everyone clearly understood my perspective.
- I could seek understanding of my challenger’s perspective.
(Ironically, I drove a rented Dodge Challenger to the meeting, which may have kicked off all of the challenges.)
I chose door number 2.
When there is a difference of opinions, the win is not to make sure everyone else knows why you think what you think. The win is to learn, understand and gain greater insight from the perspective of others.
Rather than digging in and repeating your perspective try one of these magical comeback lines:
- Why do you think that?
- Please explain.
- How did you come to that conclusion?
- Tell me more.
- Who’s zooming who?
Seeking understanding doesn’t mean you have to change your mind. It doesn’t mean that one of you is right and the other is wrong. It simply means that you are keeping your mind open to learning about how others think. You get to understand the facts that others have collected and how they have processed those facts into conclusions. This will help you make better decisions in the future. And it will help you gain the respect of others. Because when you show someone else that you respect them and their thinking process they will often do the same for you.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.