Arguing

Before investing time, energy, relationships in an argument, it is advisable to spend some time understanding three things.

What is the impact of the outcome? It seems many times discussions and arguments arise for matters that do not move the needle: having the brochure with a blue or a red background, using this or that word, wanting an opportunity back that is already gone, and so on. You might have a strong preference for one or the other, and yet you know deep down the outcome is not going to move numbers and cultures, so consider dropping the argument altogether.

What are the facts I base my opinion on? When a discussion starts, it’s most likely about opinions and sentiments: I like this better than that, I think that banner would be more effective than the other, I have a feeling our customers would not understand us. Of course, this is valuable, and yet if you cannot anchor it to real life experiences, examples, and facts, consider dropping the argument altogether.

Are the people I am talking to ready to hear this? If you claim something progressive in a conservative environment, that might not be the right audience to put forward your brilliant new idea to. Wanting to go South when everybody (or at least, who’s driving) is going North, is a pretty ambitious target, so consider dropping the argument altogether.

If the impact your idea will have is relevant, you have facts supporting it and people willing to hear, than go ahead and invest. Be wary though that these three are often missing, and when that’s the case you are only going to waste time, energy and eventually deteriorate relationships.

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