Dale Carnegie Course: Week 9

This is part of a series on the Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Course.

The important part of week 9 was about how to disagree with someone agreeably. Conflict is everywhere, and people often have different views on any given topic. You’ve probably been in an argument with someone about something, only to think about it later and realise it isn’t really that important. Perhaps you’ve been in the unfortunate position where your argument was about something important. Wouldn’t it be great if you could deal with this sort of situation in a better way, a way where you are more likely to get your point across. Sure, you might not convince other people that you’re right (maybe you’re wrong!), but you might be able to discuss thing civilly.

We heard a few anecdotes from people about angry customers, people who yell, who rant, who scream. How to deal with this torrent of emotion?

It turns out that you probably already know how best to respond, but doing it is much harder than simply knowing about it: You don’t respond at all. You just let them rant, and listen to them, trying to find out why they’re upset. Take the time to hear them out. After they rant for a while and perhaps calm down a bit, ask them, calmly, more about what they’re talking/yelling about. Being really angry takes a lot of energy, and you can’t keep it up for long. More importantly, if you get swept up in the irrational emotion, you’ll stop thinking clearly and end up ranting incoherently, just like them. Now you’re both incapable of rational thought, and no amount of yelling will get either of you anywhere.

So why not try something else? Try really understanding someone else’s point of view for a change.

You can never really understand another person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. And then you’ll be a mile away from them. And you’ll have their shoes.

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