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Disagreeing With Others

​This information is included in our Guide to Communication Skills. Click here to see the rest of the guide.

When you don’t agree with another person’s opinion or decision, you should:

  1. Remain calm. Getting upset will only make matters worse.
  2. Look at the person. This shows that you have confidence.
  3. Begin with a positive or neutral statement. “I know you are trying to be fair, but ….”
  4. Explain why you disagree with the opinion or decision. Keep your voice tone level and controlled. Be brief and clear.
  5. Listen as the other person explains his or her side of the story.
  6. Calmly accept whatever opinion or decision is made.
  7. Thank the person for listening, regardless of the outcome.

Reasons for using the skill, Disagreeing with Others: It is important to disagree in a calm manner because it increases the chances that the other person will listen to you. This may be the only opportunity you have to challenge an opinion or get a decision changed. You have a right to express your opinions. But you lose that right if you become upset or aggressive. If the other person feels that you are going to lose self-control, you stand very little chance of getting your views across.

You’re not going to win every time. Some opinions or decisions will not change. However, learning how to disagree calmly may help change some of them.

Don’t try to change everything. People will view you as a pest.
If you are calm and specific when you disagree, people will respect you for the mature way you handle situations. It pays off in the long run!

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