- Before you start stating something that is contrary to what is being said or believed, say, “I may be wrong, I frequently I’m. Let’s examine the facts.”
This motivates people to listen as you are not setting up a challenge to their beliefs. This disarms your opponents and makes them less defensive while listening to you.
You will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong. That will stop all argument and inspire your opponent to be just as fair, open and broadminded as you are. It will make him want to admit that he too may be wrong.
The little word “my” is the most important word in human affairs and to properly reckon with it is the beginning of wisdom.
- Very few people like to listen to truths that reflect on their judgement.
When we are wrong, we may admit it to ourselves. And if we are handled gently and tactfully, we may admit to others and even take pride in our frankness and broad-mindedness. But not if someone is trying to ram the unpalatable fact down our throat.
By telling someone straight to their face that they are wrong, you only succeed in stripping that person of self-dignity and making yourself unwelcome in any part of further discussion.
- Judge people by their principles, not your own.
Most of us face this great challenge. When someone does something, we often judge them based on our own standards. We judge them by the length of our yardstick, over our experiences and level of intelligence.
We need to understand that we don’t all have the same experiences, thinking capacity, logic, reason, intelligence. Why then shall we judge fellow man based on our ideals?
Judge them by their principles, not your own.
- Agree with thine adversary quickly.
It’s better to let a dog have its way that to fight to have your way. You may succeed but you will be bitten. Be smart, find points you both agree on and dwell on it.
Don’t argue to gain your point. Don’t tell them they are wrong, don’t get them stirred up. Use a little diplomacy. Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never bluntly point out, “you are wrong.”