Just a Little Respect Please

A few weeks ago we looked into some great advice for maintaining good relationships – avoid arguments whenever possible. This week we consider another Dale Carnegie tip that can make that a little easier –Show respect for other’s opinions and never say, “You’re wrong.”Aretha Franklin sang about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Showing respect to someone is acknowledging their worth as a human being. We may not like the person we’re dealing with but we can still treat them with dignity. Think about how you’d want someone to treat a loved one; your spouse, a parent or your child. The person you’re dealing with probably falls into one of those categories and has someone who hopes they’re treated with respect.My worldview is a Christian one and my faith tells me all people are created in the image of God. It also teaches me that I’m to love my neighbor as myself. In light of those two tenents, showing respect for another person seems like the least I can do. You may not hold the same faith as I do but I hope you can agree that every human has value and should be treated with dignity and respect.When you don’t show respect you can be sure the other person won’t be open to listen and will probably just look for an opportunity to disrespect you. It becomes a game of “tit for tat” which accomplishes nothing.Now onto the second part of Carnegie’s advice, never say “You’re wrong.” What’s so bad about that? Sometimes people are flat out wrong! Someone might erroneously state something as fact when it can easily be proven to be incorrect. Example, “Ronald Reagan was the37th President of the United States.” It would not be incorrect to say, “You’re wrong. He was the 40th President. Google it and you’ll see.”However, let’s think about it for a moment. If your goal is to win friends and influence people (not make enemies and alienate others) then you might want to approach the situation a bit differently. It requires tact and strategy.First, never forget people have a vested interest in being right, especially when others are present. It can be embarrassing to know you made a mistake and it’s significantly worse when you feel others know about it. Saying, “You’re wrong” to someone is like pouring salt on a wound…it will produce a sharp reaction!Most people will naturally push back when pushed and that occurs emotionally as well as physically. When you tell people they’re wrong, they usually don’t want to give you the satisfaction of being right (winning) so they’ll look for any reason they might have been justified in what they said or did…no matter how wrong you might think they are. This happens naturally because of the psychological principle of consistency. People feel the need to be consistent in what they say and do so they’ll manufacture reasons to support their actions. If you recognize this you can work around it rather than against it.You and I might agree on many things that are wrong. For example, stealing. I bet everyone reading this would agree taking what’s not yours is wrong. However, even criminals quite often believe they were justified in breaking the law. Their reasons may not be valid to you but they have their reasons.Rather than confronting someone head on, try an end around. If you think someone is wrong, ask the person questions that might help you lead down a different path, one that might allow the individual to consider other alternatives. This is especially valuable because if a person feels he or she has discovered the solution, and it wasn’t forced upon them, they are more likely to change their mind. Remember, your goal isn’t to be right; it’s about preserving a relationship.Here would be a non-threatening way to approach the Reagan fact, “Really, President Reagan was the 37th President? I didn’t know that. Do you remember where you heard that or read it because I thought he was 40th or 41st. Now I’m curious. Wait a second and I’ll do a quick Google search on my phone and find out.” This never implies “You’re wrong and I’m right” and allows the person to save face if others are around.I assume you’re reading this blog because you want to improve your ability to communicate, learn to be persuasive, enjoy your relationships with other people more and have a little less stress. Making a choice to show respect for other’s opinions and never say, “you’re wrong,” will go a long ways towards making those goals become reality.Brian
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”

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Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer at Influence People, LLC
Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence People, LLC. A dynamic keynote speaker, trainer, coach, and consultant, he specializes in applying the science of influence and persuasion in business and personal situations. He is one of only 20 individuals in the world who currently holds the Cialdini Method Certified Trainer® (CMCT®) designation. This specialization in the psychology of persuasion was earned directly from Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. – the most cited living social psychologist in the world when it comes to the science of ethical persuasion. Brian’s passion is helping people achieve greater professional success and enjoy more personal happiness. He does this by teaching people how to ethically move others to action through the science of persuasion.
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