August 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts August 2001 Current Issue
August 2001

Resolving Differences

Disputes are all the more unpleasant when the arguing parties use “fighting words,” say Warren H. Schmidt and BJ Gallagher Hateley, authors of Is It Always Right to Be Right? (AMACOM, New York City, $16.95). The book suggests some effective phrases to direct a heated conversation toward a calm resolution.

IMAGEClarify differences. “We both seem to want X, but we have different views on Y.”

Focus on objectives. “Let’s be clear on the outcomes we would like to achieve.”

Be informed. “Is there any additional information, or are there other points of view that might be helpful to us?”

Play it out. “Let’s look at what might happen if we adopted your proposal, and then let’s do the same with my proposal.”

Be flexible. “Under what circumstances could you support what I am proposing?”

Offer concessions. “I could support what you propose if...”


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