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Now let’s turn our attention to another communication challenge.

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STRONG BELIEF Now let’s turn our attention to another communication challenge.
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This time you’re not offering delicate feedback or iffy stories;

you’re merely going to step into an argument and advocate your




point of view. It’s the kind of thing you do all the time. You do it

at home, you do it at work, and yes, you’ve even been known to

fire off an opinion or two while standing in line at the DMV.

Unfortunately, as stakes rise and others argue differing

views-and you just know in your heart of hearts that you ‘re

right and they’re wrong-you start pushing too hard. You simply

have to win. There’s too much at risk and only you have the right

ideas. Left to their own devices, others will mess things up. So

when you care a great deal and are sure of your views, you don’t

merely speak-you try to force your opinions on others. Quite

naturally, others resist. You in turn push even harder.

As consultants, we (the authors) watch this kind of thing hap­

pen all the time. For instance, seated around the table is a group

of leaders who are starting to debate an important topic. First,

someone hints that she’s the only one with any real insight. Then

someone else starts tossing out facts like so many poisonous

darts. Another-it just so happens someone with critical infor­

mation-retreats into silence. As emotions rise, words that were

once carefully chosen and tentatively delivered are now spouted

with an absolute certainty that is typically reserved for claims

that are nailed to church doors or carved on stone tablets.

In the end, nobody is listening, everyone is committed to

silence or violence, and the Pool of Shared Meaning is dry.

Nobody wins.

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