October 3, 2008

Finding merit in people's reasons

"Many people fear that appreciating someone's point of view is equivalent to agreeing with them. Wrong. Whether or not you agree with someone, you can find merit in their reasoning and let them know. You give up none of your authority to decide; you can still say yes or no to proposals and increase the likelihood that the two of you will be able to work together effectively. It is possible to understand a person's ideas or opinions that you think are foolish or patently wrong. It is also possible to understand, for example, arguments that you believe are weighty, important, and deserving attention even if you happen to disagree with them or feel that they are outweighted by other factors. Communicating that you understand is quite different from saying, 'I agree with you' or 'I will do what you suggest'."

~ Roger Fisher & Daniel Shapiro, Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate (p 37)

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