Case building reaches its worst when we begin to restate opposing viewpoints in language convenient to our own.
In a recent meeting I attended, the CIO and SVP of Sales were on opposite sides of an issue in a way pretty predictable for their positions. Unfortunately the discussion moved to hyperbole as each of them hunkered down for a battle. They each characterized the other’s viewpoint with all the objectivity and understanding of Rush Limbaugh explaining the Democratic Party platform- or if you like, Al Franken on the GOP.
Such polarized behavior does not move towards a solution. Perhaps worse, it compromises the credibility of those involved with their peers and anyone else who happens to be around to hear it.
Want to stay out of that trap? Speak for yourself- and only yourself- especially when you are agitated. Observations that begin with “I think…” “I feel…” I am concerned…” are credible and defensible. Those that begin with “You…” generally send us down the road of personal attack and reframing. Better than speaking for yourself though is listening from outside yourself. You do not have to agree- but it helps to truly understand an opposing viewpoint. There may be no common ground; but if there is, no one will find it while they are demonizing the opposing point of view or their opponent.
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