In Parts One and Two we saw how effective it is, when in a disagreement, to point out the other person’s side of the issue first. It works in business. And, it works just as well in interpersonal situations.
By doing this, we first establish our credibility, and then what we say on our own behalf becomes even more acceptable. Again, you’ll know you’re on the right track when the other(s) begins making your case for you.
However, there is an important caveat to keep in mind: if you have a history with this person where win/lose argument and debate is the norm, then it may take a couple of conversations before they’ll be ready to accept your new attitude. Very quickly, however, they’ll begin to see that you are simply searching for the truth – not just trying to be right at all costs.
As we conclude this three-part series, I believe the key point in all this is humility, which leads to effective communication. When we are truly desirous of the truth and not just in winning an argument, people understand our intent and are much quicker to accept our position.
The Talmud teaches this valuable lesson through the story of Hillel and Shammai, two of our greatest Sages. They and their respective disciples (houses) disagreed on many legal issues. On the majority of issues, the law sides with Beis (house of) Hillel. Why? The Talmud explains that Hillel was humble – he taught Shammai’s opinion before he taught his own.
Let’s keep this lesson in our active consciousness as we win our “cases” with kindness, tact, respect, and appreciation for the other person and his or her views.