We have all been there, the boss or management makes a decision you don’t agree with, you disagree with a spouse, or your children are making mistakes. You know your right. The first step in proving that your right and letting other know it is actually counter intuitive and probably not what you want to hear, especially when you’re in the heat of the moment.
The first step is to stop formulating of your argument and seek to understand the context. The only way to truly persuade is to understand the thoughts, intents and goals of the person you are trying to persuade.
Stephen Covey had it right. The idea is simple, and it is best formulated as the fifth of the “7 habits of highly effective people” Here it is: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Wikipedia summarizes this habit as follows:
Use empathic listening to genuinely understand a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.
It’s that simple. Yet few people do it.
There is probably a reason why your boss is making those decisions, find out why, get insight.
Your spouse probably has good intentions, find out what they are trying to do. Your children may have a limited experience and are acting based upon false or misunderstood beliefs. Listen to them, learn and then teach.
How do you prove you are right? Make sure you are not wrong first. You can only do this through introspection and research.
See this principle in practice in my new Sitcom Blog, .com Cowboy.