Have you ever had another person who you always argue with?
Maybe there is one person who you just can’t come to agreement with, but I am here to tell you that there is a better way.
I’m about to show you how to never argue with others again.
The other someone asked me how he could connect better with people who just wanted to talk politics with him. This was after the election in America and he was in Europe traveling, but everyone he encountered wanted to talk about the specifics of the election that had just occurred.
Every time he was in a conversation with someone else they would say something like, “I hate this candidate because of this reason.”
When this person who I was working with responded he would only lead the conversation to a place of further disagreement because he would talk about the specifics and things that aren’t really important in conversing and connecting with others.
Disagreements only occur when we are talking about the details and specifics in conversation.
Fine specifics can block connections, but when the focus is on higher and more important ideas then we can come together.
It is much more likely for two people to like ice cream than for two people to agree on their preferred flavor of ice cream. My chocolate chip cookie dough may just be your mint flavored ice cream (I really like the cookie dough mixed in).
In the same way, if I start a conversation with someone and they tell me that they hate this political candidate for whatever specific reason it is (raising taxes, personal conduct, or whatever), then at that moment I will more likely disagree with them compared to if they came to me with a higher level idea such as economic prosperity, equal opportunities for all, or safety among the country.
Politicians actually chunk up their ideas in the debates so that they can connect with more people.
What we are working with here is language concepts rooted in Neuro-linguistic Programming. We don’t need to get into the fine details of it all, but we are simply working with lower and higher level forms of thinking.
The processes involved here are chunking up and chunking down.
When we chunk up our language or any idea, we are making it more broad and generic. People will find it easier to connect and agree on these ideas.
An example of chunking up is when you say that you have a Mustang GT. I want to find similarities with our cars because they are both Fords (remember rapport is sameness), but mine isn’t a sports car. So I say, what brand (what is a more generic classification) is this your Mustang GT? At the level of Ford we can connect better.
Disclaimer: I do not own a Ford.
Chunking down is just the opposite. It is finding a more specific example of a general idea. If someone comes to me and tells me that they just want to be happy then I ask them, “Well what specifically would being happy be to you?” Knowing this detail helps me understand because my specific idea of happiness is going to be different from theirs.
This chart is useful for understanding these different levels in the conversation (this concept resides in teaching about the Logical Levels and the Hierarchy of Ideas):
These levels are always present in a conversation and the way to come to agreement with anyone is to go to a higher level of thinking.
So back to our original example of politics, the following is how I chunk up the language to come to agreement. Note how in no way do I compromise myself or my personal views on any belief I might have. In fact the person I am talking to will probably still be unsure as to my political views. It’s good because the details aren’t what matter.
Here is the example:
Me: Hi There.
Her: Hi, where are you from?
Me: The United States.
Her: Oh you are from America? Who did you vote for? Trump is such an asshole who has no respect for women.
Me: Yeah I hate it when women aren’t treated as equals and are degraded just because they are female. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s best to have someone who respects other people to lead the country?
Her: Oh most definitely. We need someone who…
In this example I move her away from the specific details of what she is talking about into a higher level of thinking. This lets me communicate with her in just moments on ideas that are far more important than whether this guy said this degrading thing or whatever the issue is.
The conversation shows how I acknowledge her voice, but then I also point her in a direction of her values. What is more important to anyone is not a specific action that somebody does one time (a behavior), but instead the values that a person represents (respect for women in this example). Remember we saw this in the post here on the Logical Levels.
In the last part I lead the woman to an even higher idea of what type of personality she would like to have leading the country. It is hard to disagree with the well-being of the country as not being important. In this place we can find rapport (sameness).
When someone comes to you talking about something that you don’t agree with, it is far more beneficial not to openly disagree with them, but to find something that the two of you do agree on. This is not being disingenuous, but paying more attention to agreement than disagreement
Remember you are always anchoring a person’s feelings to you when speaking with them. This means they associate the positive or negative feelings they feel while talking with you, to you. If you are always disagreeing with someone then they are likely to feel bad and associate those bad feelings with you.
If however you continually affirm someone’s statements and then take them to higher levels of conversation and ultimately agreement then they will like you for doing so. This helps them to think more and connect with you.
When this happens and the two of you can agree on the higher level ideas, then you also have a place that you can start from if you want to get them to agree on the more lower level ideas. This is where you can get them to start to agree on the finer details as well with you. If they agree on big ideas, they will be much more likely to agree on the little details of those ideas.
Remember, it’s not important to fight about which flavor of ice cream is the best. It is far more beneficial for us to agree that ice cream tastes good and if we can’t agree on that then let’s agree that it’s important to eat the food that we like.