I Disagree With You

You must admit, those four words can be pretty unsettling. The notion that someone might challenge our opinion, our position or our point of view can quicken our pulse and make us recoil or recede from a conversation.

To be able to have a meaningful conversation with anyone about anything important, you have to risk sharing potentially unpopular points of view – you have to risk offending someone. To be clear, I am not talking about being recklessly provocative. I am talking about the honest exchange of opposing ideas. Often, it’s the tussle between competing ideas that leads us to those centerpieces of communication: truth, clarity and understanding.

Modeling a better ability to disagree

As communications professionals, we are merchants in the marketplace of ideas. We’re supposed to be very good at articulating and exchanging ideas – probably better than most. Our ability to look at issues through the eyes of multiple audiences equips us to model a heathier form of discourse, dialogue and idea exchange, and we only stand to benefit, both personally and professionally.

You may have your own mechanisms for handling disagreement and difficult conversations. Here are some of the approaches I try to take.

This is starting to sound a little like one of our Padilla beliefs, “Work Brave.”

Warmer weather is on the way, and that means we’ll get to enjoy more social gatherings. As the saying goes, “avoid religion and politics” as topics of conversation. But I wonder how different, more beneficial and constructive those conversations (and relationships) would be if we all modeled some of these approaches.

And if you disagree with any of this, I’d welcome the conversation!

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