Have you ever been in a meeting in which a person kept throwing up roadblocks? No matter what you said or how you approached the problem, they continued in opposition. Resolving disagreements like this can be difficult, but not impossible.
One way around the roadblock is to gain an understanding of why the roadblock is in place. In my experience, people are typically disagreeable for the sake of being disagreeable. They often have some thought, idea, or agenda that they won’t or can’t verbalize. But when you have a better understanding of these unspoken concerns, you can change the way you approach the conversation.
One Key for Working Through Disagreements
So, let me suggest something. When you are in a disagreement with someone and you can’t figure out why, remind yourself, “You don’t know what he’s thinking.” With that foundational thought, try to find out what he’s thinking. Some ways to do this include:
- Ask probing questions that go beyond the immediate topic
- Listen carefully for hints of the unspoken concern
- Break away from the meeting with just that person and have a frank conversation
Your goal is to communicate a real desire to understand the other person and a real commitment to take these deeper concerns into consideration.
What I’ve discovered is that when you “know what he’s thinking” you have the opportunity to approach the conversation differently. It doesn’t always result in a different outcome than the one you desired, but the fact that the conversation is based on mutual understanding of all the layers involved helps you resolve the disagreement and come to a fruitful resolution.
What’s your best tip for resolving disagreements in meetings? Share it in a commitment below.