Archive for the ‘Faciliation’ Category


Have you ever talked to someone where they look at you intently while you are talking, nodding occansionally, maybe even grunting a bit? You thought they were listening but later they act in direct opposite of what you were talking about.

Were they listening but not telling you they disagreed? Were they even listening?

What is the difference between listening and simply not interrupting?

I have to say, I was impressed with the looking at me intently while I talked. I thought this person was really interested in what I was saying. But like any fake – it only fools for short while.


How to Disagree

As I pointed out in my earlier post, often people get stuck on arguing whose solution is better. It does not really go anywhere because

  • they are really solving two different problems, and
  • they are not even listening to each other – just listing the benefits of their own clever solution

 The way around this standoff is to

  1. Tell the other person the benefits of their solution. This will shut them up because they see that you finally understood what they have been trying to tell you.
  2. Then tell them the problem with their solution.

Notice that nowhere does it say to describe how your solution is way better. No need to even mention your solution. Just list the problems with the other solution. Either the other person will deny that those are indeed problems, in which case you can address the real issue – that you disagree on what the problem is – or they will agree that their solution is imperfect which should lead naturally to a discussion whether there is a perfect or more better solution.

By just insisting that your solution is better (and thus you are smarter) will get you nowhere. But by continuing to list problems, the other person is challenged to solve them and will then discover your solution (or perhaps a better one) themselves.

And then you agree 🙂

Disagree to Disagree

90% of the time when two people disagree about a solution, they really disagree about the problem.

Usually Person A’s solution is the best for the problem that Person A sees.

And usually Person B’s solution is the best for the problem that Person B sees.

But since they go back and forth about who’s solution is best, they never realize that they are talking about two different problems.

If they would just step back and discuss the problem, they will resolve their disagreement so much sooner. But alas, defining the problem is boring analysis and who wants to do that?