The unpleasant discusssion

Today, I had a quite strange and unpleas­ant dis­cus­sion. It was about busi­ness strat­e­gy and sales, and the both of us dif­fered quite clear­ly in our views on how to ‘do it right’. I was­n’t in the best mood, and from my per­spec­tive, the other guy behaved in an ego­is­tic, slight­ly arro­gant and self­ish man­ner. He used typ­i­cal killer terms, such as “total­ly clear” or “as I’ve always been say­ing” to under­line his appar­ent­ly supe­ri­or line of argumentation.
I’m used to these rhetoric tech­niques which are pop­u­lar tools used in many cor­po­rate meet­ings. And nor­mal­ly, I don’t both­er at all since I don’t use these tech­niques myself and I don’t react on them, nei­ther. But today, I could­n’t resist and after a while I found myself in a quite stren­u­ous debate with “rights” and “wrongs” — with both par­tic­i­pants look­ing for win­ning arguments.
Dur­ing those 90 min­utes, I asked myself a few times to calm down, for­get about what the other one just said, start anew, and so on. But it did­n’t work. At the end we came to some sort of con­clu­sion which did not sat­is­fy one of us. I left with a bad — or at least very mixed feel­ing. Dur­ing the first 2 hours or so after the event, I real­ized that I was try­ing to explain myself by (men­tal­ly) argu­ing against his statements.
Luck­i­ly, after some cof­fee and some dis­trac­tion, I sud­den­ly asked myself: what, if he were right? What, if I put my argu­ments aside for a moment, and took over his per­spec­tive — no mat­ter if his argu­men­ta­tion was flawed or not?
This exer­cise — to real­ly take on your oppo­nen­t’s per­spec­tive and act respec­tive­ly — is one of the more demand­ing ones. To change my spots has been quite dif­fi­cult, today. But, it worked. I suc­cess­ful­ly imag­ined some sce­nar­ios based on his argu­ments. The result: as always, I learned a lot by doing this exer­cise. First: the anger I felt after hav­ing left was anger about myself — not being able to cope with the sit­u­a­tion in a good way. And — with­out going into detail, I now know that I real­ly could — and should — opti­mize my own views and behav­ior regard­ing busi­ness strat­e­gy and sales. I still regard some of his views as flawed but these are details: my key take­away from today’s dis­cus­sion is that I learn most from dif­fi­cult, unpleas­ant com­mu­ni­ca­tions. In a wider sense, that reflects that we all can learn some­thing from anybody.
If you read this, thank you for today’s insight, dear.….!

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