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 presented by author / motivational speaker Nancy McFadden M.A.




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personal relationships with a ‘significant other’, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers and casual acquaintances. There are also circumstances that put us face to face in disagreement with some people we don’t even know on a personal level.
Irrespective of with who you are in disagreement, it can prove overwhelming if you find yourself in a confrontation with anyone and it gets out of hand. Loud voices, stamping of feet, pounding of fists on a table, swearing, threatening, crying or pleading are all part of disagreements and are evidence that someone is insisting on being heard.
   But what exactly are you supposed to do when you find yourself in a predicament where there doesn’t seem to be much chance that both sides will find a place to agree? In fact, what if you are convinced that no one is actually looking for agreement and the focus seems to be on whom is going to win?
   Worse yet, what happens when the situation seems to be getting worse and you don’t believe your thoughts are even being interpreted correctly? It is quite common to hear someone say, “but you just said……..”, and they repeat your words, but have an entirely different interpretation from what you are actually attempting to say. That can be somewhat frightening, not to mention frustrating.
   If you have been on either end of such situations you likely remember how maddening it is to talk louder and louder and still not be heard. You probably remember how discouraging it is to be walking away angry, disappointed or worse yet reacting to your frustration making the situation worse – especially when this is a pattern of behavior and you know the inevitability of it’s recurrence.
   It only seems reasonable that some form of rules or procedure be put in place as guidelines to disagreement. The goal is to allow both sides to speak, to be heard and to decide what they wish to do in relation to the situation. Of course, this is a little more difficult in practice than in principle.
   Motivational speaker and author, Nancy McFadden M.A., developed a program on “How to Disagree Effectively”. In it, she suggests a structure for how to stay powerful during a disagreement and how to know when to call “time-out” if it becomes apparent that no one is listening and no progress is being achieved.
   The rational and most effective procedure is for both sides to know the guidelines and to stick to them with a view to creating an outcome that both can live with. This may not always be possible. However, if both persons in disagreement agree to stay with the principles of effective disagreement, McFadden claims the chances of creating a favorable outcome increase. At the least, it offers respectful discourse without the disagreement escalating into a tantrum or worse yet a reactive situation where one or both persons lose control.
   “First of all”, she recommends that before you enter into disagreement, “know your goal”. “If you don’t know what the issue is, there is small chance you can address it sensibly”.
   “The biggest reason arguments escalate”, McFadden says, “is because the subject gets changed and most times no one even notices”. “You start out talking about wanting to be called when the person knows they are going to be late and end up talking about who is most insensitive, rude, demanding, or immature”, she ...

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