I know this has happened to you because it happens to me almost everyday, and that is having encounters with people (possibly coworkers or customers) who are stating their opinion or belief about something and you do not agree with at all.  In fact, sometimes we think to ourselves “They must be crazy to think this…come on”.

But the reality is that there are few people who think exactly the same way that you do, and maybe none.  So how do you handle these types of encounters without creating a conflict or worse yet an argument?

Remember no matter how wild, crazy or nuts-o you may think this person’s opinion is, it is their opinion and they should be respected for it.  Don’t you want to be respected for what you think and feel?

It always amazes me when I hear someone express their thoughts about something and the person that they are talking to, totally goes off on them just because they differ with their point of view.  What is that all about?  Don’t we all have freedom of speech?

Now I have to say that sometimes it is very hard to bite my tongue when someone says something against an important issue that I hold close to my heart, but bite it  I do, because 99.9% of the time it is not worth the challenge.

So what can you do?  How can you keep the boxing gloves off?  Well, you can agree to disagree, but in a way that they (the person who you do not agree with) doesn’t even know that you disagree.  Here are five things that you can do and say that will allow you to keep your cool and not upset the other person either.

1. Nod your head when they are speaking and lean into to them just a little and when they finish, say “wow I never thought of that before or I never saw it that way before”.  By shaking your head up and down, they think either your are in agreement with them or you think what they said is worthy of your positive thoughts.

2. Act a bit surprised and step back, nod your head saying “ I can see how you see that”.  The point being “them” you can see how they see it that way.

3. In a group setting and someone is talking you can just nod your head up and down and say “very interesting” or just “interesting”.  In the group setting it is much easier to do this.

4. A well placed thumb and forefinger on the chin and a slight nod stating “amazing, I will give that some thought, thanks for your input, opinion or idea”.  They are happy and you can either consider it, or not, but walk away in peace.

5. A delighted reaction (maybe hands up or a clap) stating “It is just so interesting that there are probably as many opinions on that topic as there are people.”  Then a little laugh and on to something else.

I think you probably get the point I am trying to get across, which is we do not have to agree at all, we can just disagree in an agreeable fashion most of the time.  No use getting into a battle when it can be avoided.

I have seen these techniques done and have done them myself time and again and it works beautifully.  We can let people speak their mind and not mind it at all, it is simple a process of mind over matter.  And the fact that most of the time, it is not worth the time to get into an argument.

Any other ideas on how to handle this type of situation?

The link below is to the blog Switched On, which had a post yesterday about how to avoid conflict, I felt it went right along with this post, so take a look.

The Secret to Avoiding Conflict