Don’t Argue: Ask Questions
They say “It takes two to tango”. Well, it also takes at least two to argue. It’s not possible to have an argument with someone if there is no reaction. My advice is don’t argue. If you need to find solutions to create a win/win outcome, then arguing isn’t going to serve you. The best way to reach a reasonable and acceptable outcome is to ask questions.
In coaching it’s normal to encourage people to ask questions so the other person can hear the potential solution in their own words. It’s said that coaches don’t ask questions to hear the answer themselves, but so their client can hear the answer. Questions actually let the person to take ownership and responsibility for the solution. There are times, when talking to someone, we already know the answer. It’s more powerful to allow someone to come up with solutions on their own.
The same works with arguments. When all someone wants is to argue, questioning isn’t going to be that helpful. If you want to formulate a solution, questioning can go a long way to creating a solution that’s agreeable to both parties.
Don’t Argue – It Doesn’t Serve You
I believe it’s useless to argue or try to reason with people who are convinced I am wrong and they are right . . . the foundation to any argument. By asking simple questions aimed at getting a response of providing a solution instead, the person begins to see the problem from a different perspective. Questioning allows people work through a problem and think about it in a different way, without the need for conflict or argument.
This process is very helpful when there is conflict. The process of asking questions can be very valuable when dealing with others in a potentially stressful situation. Let’s take a look at on such situation.
Let’s say that I was in a department store looking to buy a large item of electrical goods. I had followed directions in the electrical department advising me to take my order to the cashier, who would place and confirm the order, take the payment and arrange for shipping.
In this case, the cashier got confused and called over the head cashier, whose name was Gloria.
Gloria told me I was wrong and need to go to another department to place the order. Gloria clearly indicated she wasn’t interested when I showed her the instructions I read before I proceeded with the order. I could easily get into an argument and cause a situation to get unnecessarily heated and stressful. Instead, I asked some questions. I started with a very important one, “Gloria, how are we going to resolve this?” I remained calm and focused on how to get the order placed. Gloria seemed to have a problem with helping me. However, in the end the situation was resolved without any argument. Asking questions helped Gloria and I stay focused without arguing.
This policy of no arguing can help you in your own business too. There is always a solution to any potential problem if you know how to find it. Any conversation that has conflict and denial in it serves nobody in finding that solution. In many cases, the question route is the right one. The conflict route is the foolish one.
Avoid defending your position or trying to prove a point. Don’t argue, but focus on asking questions. Questions can avoid a stressful situation and allow both parties to see the problem in a different light. Even if you already know the answer, the other person will be more open to a solution if they’re allowed to find it on her or his own. Don’t argue, ask questions!