Often in the heat of a discussion, we make assumptions about what the person is going to say and don’t really listen to their argument. While they are speaking we are trying to formulate a response. In order to get the most out of a disagreement, it’s important to shut up and listen to what others have to say.
Using active listening techniques can help:
- Hold back your opinion: The first step is to stop talking. Don’t start defending your own position until you’ve heard the full argument.
- Focus on the speaker: Avoid distractions or multi-tasking.
- Repeat: Paraphrase what you’ve heard in your own words to show understanding, but avoid judging or disagreeing yet.
- Be curious: Ask open-ended questions to draw out more information to really understand the reason for the disagreement.
- Reply: Once you’ve really understood – explain your position.