I just about died yesterday in a meeting when I heard a leader in their executive presentation say, “let’s agree to disagree.”  He didn’t even realize the impact of what he said.

So let’s be clear, I don’t believe it ever is appropriate to say, “let’s agree to disagree” and here is why:

1. The hidden message is really, “I don’t agree with you, am tired of listening so I want to stick to my point of view.”  Essentially you have solved nothing at this point.

2. As a senior executive, you will find out in our Presentation Skills Seminars that your employee’s brains see you as a threat (yes even if you are a super nice and fair person) because you essentially control their paycheck and future job security.  Therefore, when you say “let’s agree to disagree” in their mind you are wielding the power stick and shutting their voice off.

3. It causes the other person to then think it is okay for them to use this phrase in all of their meetings as well.  So you are cutting off the need to deal effectively with controversy and conflict–not a good spot for a company to be in.  To have a great executive team you have to have conflict and you need to know how to gracefully navigate conflict so you bring up all the shortfalls of thinking and look at a situation from all angles.

4. You cause a defense reaction in, not only the other person, but also any person in the room who feels what you did was insulting to the other person.  This leads to a “let’s play safe” instead of “let’s play full out” mentality in your organization.

Instead of saying “let’s agree to disagree” you need to talk about the emotion and try to uncover what is the mental blocker for each side.

  1. Dig deep to find out what each of you are “not hearing.”
  2. Easiest way to do this is to first try to fully understand what the other person is trying to say before you try to articulate your point.  If you find yourself interrupting the other person, you aren’t really listening, you are only trying to sharpen the edge of your own argument.
  3. Let them know you want to fully understand their point.
  4. Articulate back what you heard.  Get their agreement before you respond.

If you need to take something off-line, as a leader,  you need to lower the other person’s defense by letting them know you want to hear what they are saying and that you may not be articulating your point in the best way.  This will stop them from feeling they need to lock horns with you and instead get them to listen.

Now if you want the exact words, phrases or more brain information so you say it right the first time, check out our ebook for leaders as we give you the phrasing, the why and the how all rolled up in one.  Just go to our online store.

TAKE ACTION: Sign up for the next Presentation Skills training seminar at ImpressionManagement.com