How To Control Almost Any Argument

by Michael Hargrove     

Would you like to know how to control most any argument? Here’s how and it’s simple:

First and foremost, we have to understand that two of the most basic of all human needs are to be valued and understood. Virtually every one of us has these needs in common. Then we need to understand what an argument actually is. An argument is simply two people trying to be valued and understood at the same time.

In your mind, go back to the last dinner party you attended. Now try to remember the two guys in the corner who were arguing all night long. As the first guy was talking, you could see the wheels turning in the second guy’s head as he was going over in his mind what he was going to say when it was his turn. When the first guy was finished, did the second guy begin by paraphrasing back to the first guy what he thought was said? Nooooo! The second guy just starts right in on explaining his point of view.

So what do you guess the first guy is thinking? Yep! He’s thinking, “I guess he didn’t hear me the first time…I wonder how I can say it better next time…” When the second guy is through explaining his point of view, does the first guy paraphrase back to the second guy what he had heard? Nope! He just starts right in with his new and improved way of explaining what he had to say. The poor second guy is now forced to think of a better way to make himself heard and it goes on and on like this forever or until one of them decides the other is just too closed minded or stupid to understand.

Sound familiar? Okay, here’s how we can control most any argument; let the other person feel valued and understood first. Use the skill of active listening familiar to most of us. If it’s not, that skill is outlined in this article entitled: The Two Things Every Customer Wants From Us.

If we are allowing the other person to go first, aren’t we controlling the situation? But something magical happens. Once the other person feels valued and understood, they open up to listening to us, to listening to our point of view. What we are doing is pacing their need to be valued and understood, pacing their need to be listened to. We must first pace the other person (build rapport) before we can have any real chance of leading them to our point of view. Which, of course, is the right one.

Stephen Covey says it this way, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

We will talk more about pacing and leading sometime soon. But in the meantime, this is how we can control almost any argument that will ever happen again in our personal lives as well as our professional lives. Take this to work with you and most important, take it home with you too. I’m confident you’ll be very pleased with the results.


© Copyright 2013 by Michael D. Hargrove and Bottom Line Underwriters, Inc. All rights reserved. Michael D. Hargrove is the founder and president of Bottom Line Underwriters Inc.

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