Never Say This During A Disagreement – A Communication Tip


Have you ever tried to get your point across to someone only to get frustrated because you feel they don’t understand?  I have been there myself.  Sometimes in our frustration, we make some communication mistakes.

The other day I was coming out of a store and saw two women having a conversation.  It was clear to see that they were in disagreement.  One woman was trying extremely hard to “win the argument “.

As I was passing them by, I heard her say, “You just don’t understand!”  For some reason I cringed. Probably because I knew what was coming next.

I could immediately see that the other woman emotionally closed up and the chances for a win/win situation was small.

During a discussion of differing positions, if your goal is to get the other person to truly understand you, don’t make a statement such as, “you don’t understand “.  This statement is a negative one and implies that the other person is at fault, automatically putting them in defensive mode. Which is exactly what happened.

A better response could be, “I don’t think I am explaining myself properly, let me clarify “.

Focus on what you can do to get your message through and not what the other person is not doing.

One great skill that Stephen Covey emphasizes in his book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is “seek first to understand, then to be understood”.  If you seek first to understand, you are making a huge deposit in that person’s emotional bank account and setting the environment for a win/win.

When you seek to understand, you are not listening with the intention of answering.  You are truly listening with the intent to truly understand the other person’s point of view.

Practice this communication tip and you may be surprised how much simpler certain conversations could be.

Is there any other statement that puts you in defense mode when in a conversation?