Know Your ABCs
How To Avoid Conflict! Manahil Noman (Clinical Psychologist)
Have you ever come across a situation where you disagree with the other person and want to convey your stance while also hoping to avoid an argument? Your mind at that point may go like, “Hey! I do not agree with you but I also want to avoid unnecessary conflict.” Or “I shall agree with her to keep her pleased!” Knowing your ABCs can help reduce conflict while at the same time get your point across. This allows us to stay connected as well as be true to ourselves by expressing what we have in mind. Psychology says that staying true to ourselves is a necessary quality to have. If you are not genuine with yourself, how will you be genuine with other people? Eventually there will come a time where you may become rigid in your viewpoints if you keep on suppressing what you have to say. This is why it is essential to stay true to you while also understanding the other person’s point of view. Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler have taught us how to use these ABCs in conversations. It is the key to effective communication.
A – Agree – Agree means to agree with the other person on points that you actually agree with. For example someone is telling you how having the police around causes mental health problems. Here, you agree with the part where they are saying that it affects mental health but you do not agree that we should not have the police around. You can start your reply with saying, “I agree that the police have a certain impact on one’s mental health.” This will make sure that your agreement does not turn into an argument.
B – Build – Build means to at least start the response by agreeing with the other person. It is about finding the points of agreement and then starting with agreeing. This helps to build rapport with the other person. If you start out by blowing the person out of proportion, it will result in conflict as the other person will feel invalidated. Why would they validate your point then if you invalidated theirs?
C – Compare – Comparing your view with other people rather than portraying they are wrong works much better and helps avoid conflicts. Instead of starting with something that makes them feel they are wrong, get curious about what their perspective is. After this, you can convey your point of view by saying something neutral like, “I see things differently. Let me tell you how.”
This is why it is important to know your ABCs. They are an essential in communication as they are in a kindergarten classroom!