„Never“ and „always“ are very good examples of the fact that words have an extremely strong and sometimes ignored weight. „Never“ and „Always“ in a conversation are such absolute words that almost no discussion can take place and, due to the aggressive nature of these two words, it ends up in a dispute with mutual attack and defense methods.
In a conversation, discussion or argument, there are different ways in which we can influence the further course of events.
- Do not pretend that you know it all
Although it usually seems good to have an opinion on every topic, it is sometimes helpful in a dispute not to express your own opinion immediately. It is better if you ask the other person how he/she feels about the issue at hand. This is mostly appreciated by our fellow human beings and offers a good basis for the further course of the conversation. In addition, we may be able to finally understand the feelings and emotions of our counterpart and ultimately find a compromise more easily.
- Speech is silver, silence is golden
If we do not allow the other person to have their say or finish speaking, the likelihood that we will be listened to is drastically reduced. It is better to listen carefully and continuously. This is part of the skill set of every good conversationalist.
- Humility and empathy
These are two underestimated characteristics. When we hear and perceive the feelings and emotions of the other person, it is never wrong to put your own feelings and emotions in the background purely out of empathy and to get actually involve yourself with the inner workings of the other person. This is how a relationship also grows closer and deeper.
- Stick to the facts, except when it comes to feelings
When it comes to discussing facts, it is important to stick to the factual arguments and leave out your feelings. This way you can bring up opposing arguments such as „There are some aspects that should be considered with this..“, which gives the other person the feeling that you are not talking to possibly attack on a personal level, but are discussing facts without bringing emotions into the discussion. A factual discussion without feelings can be accepted more easily, as this is not an attack and the other person is therefore usually more open to other opinions.
However, when it comes to feelings or emotional issues, this should also be discussed and dealt with sensitively, because factual arguments do not count in this instance and may just give the other person the impression that his/her feelings and emotions are not important or ignored.
- It’s about the topic, not the person
When we make statements that start with «My issue with that is…», will bring the focus of the discussion to the topic again, not the person itself. This makes it easier for us to talk or argue about the matter without having to defend our own person or our opinion, which will forcibly bring in a lot of emotions into the conversation.
If the other person is somehow satisfied with our statement, can accept it or even agrees with us, then we don’t have to continue to reiterate and try to convince the other. We have made our point, said everything that was important and reached an understanding.
„You..“ is very powerful in its effect and in a discussion similar to „Never“ and „Always“. „I feel…“, „I am of the opinion…“ are best used or, when it concerns the other person, „I would love for you to…“ or „I would really appreciate it if we…“. In factual discussions, topic-related arguments should be the focus, not personal, accusatory or defensive statements.
Such wording makes it much easier for the counterpart to respond positively, because it is not an attack, but an account of personal perception and experience.