Avoid agreeing and disagreeing in the same sentence
23/03/14 16:31 Filed in: communication
It is a well used phrase 'yes I agree with you but…' that tries to make out we are in agreement and then give reasons why we are not. The yes-but combination confuses things and gives conflicting messages. It is far better to separate what we do agree with and what we don't agree with. You can try these responses instead:
- What I would like to know… - This focuses on the issue or problem as you see it and gets the opinion of the other person.
- What I am unsure of… - Raises an issue without being confrontational.
- Can you tell me or think of… - Gets the person to think about other options they might not have thought about.
- Does this effect or apply to… - Links the problem to another area or example the person might not have thought about.
The main issues with yes-but statements is they can be seen as sly way of disagreeing with someone - just ignore everything I said before the but - and the confusion it can cause. The above options try to provide a way to talk to the person to raise the issue you are concerned about with it becoming an argument. In the end what good communication is about is both parties being able to understand what each other agrees with and disagrees with. Sometimes it might be better to say "I agree with you on the following points …. And the points I disagree on are …." This changes things from yes-but to yes-and.
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