“To be agreeable when we disagree is a goal most of us have to keep working at.” – Eugene P. Bertin


Sometimes the desktop diary throws out a name I have to look up. So, who?! Well, Bertin was apparently a doctor, who did a lot of work with X-rays. He certainly saw through (get it?) the practice of disagreeing with someone in such a way that you make them feel bad, wrong or attacked! It seems to be a dying art, letting someone know in a positive and constructive way that you don’t agree with something they’ve said or done.

One of the exercises I do when coaching people in Rapport Building skills is to pair them up and have them engage in a discussion on a topic on which they both agree, but they are instructed to stay consciously out of rapport with the other person. It is rarely a conversation that goes very well or lasts particularly long – that’s ok, it’s not meant to. 

In the next conversation though, they discuss a topic on which they both disagree, this time consciously making the effort to stay in rapport with them (using the skills discussed in the module). It’s a great NLP-based exercise for remaining in positive connection, which can end up with people reviewing their positions on a subject having had a positive debate – even though they started out from opposing positions.

The next time you find yourself in vigorous debate with someone, it really does help to focus on the aim of maintaining a positive connection. Who knows, you could end up changing your position, having been successfully persuaded by another’s agreeable standpoint, or they change theirs based on yours! At worst, you could agree to disagree – but nicely!

What ongoing situation are you facing where adopting a more positive, agreeable stance might generate a totally different outcome? 

Love and light,

Jim Sharman


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