Don't Disagree

Kelvin MacKenzie. Not to everyone’s taste. Or should that be to anyone’s? Every time the former editor of the country’s biggest selling tabloid appears on the Skynews late-night paper review, he says something that makes the presenter squirm. Last night he suggested ‘we’ should put a bullet ‘between the ears’ of the recently defected Libyan Foreign Minister.

When he doesn’t rant he can be such good value. The shame is he always rants. At least he was paired with Stephen Pound last night. The only other regular reviewer that seems to handle him. Even if his politics are often potty.

Our Kelvin has a habit of talking over people. His interruptions tend to begin “I disagree”. Usually with some bellicose adverb inserted.

This struck me straight away. In sales meetings we are indeed confronted from time to time by opposing beliefs. Woe betide anyone getting in the way of us and our ambitions of course. But to outrightly state you “disagree” raises their hackles and keeps you firmly on the back foot. For good.

Fortunately, there is another way. Next time you’re tempted to do a Kelvin, rein yourself in. No matter how forceful you think it makes you seem. Consider phrases along these lines instead:

I have a different view…

I come from an alternative perspective…

There’s another way of looking at this…

On the other side of the coin…

Gentle, non-confrontational, and more likely to engender the kind of honest disagreement that is perfectly acceptable, and which usually helps lead to a better agreement of which Gandhi would be proud.

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