We’ve become a contentious and polarizing culture. What place is there for hard edges and righteous attitudes in the course of civil conversation?
Does convincing work? No!
Is it more important to be right or to be in a right relationship? This doesn’t mean that you become a doormat for others to wipe their waste on your thinking or person. Rather it means that you maintain your dignity and decorum as others debate and argue. You need not be defensive or offensive, simply be an adult who doesn’t get drawn into the fray unnecessarily.
To influence another person’s thinking there must be a basis of some trust and respect, period. Those qualities of leadership only come within the context of relationship where conversation, not convincing takes place. Stop convincing. Start conversing!
This approach is much easier said than done. A great technique is to say to someone, “Look, I know I’ll never convince you to change your position, nor you mine; but I would appreciate understanding your rationale, perspective, and opinions on the matter.” Then sit back, ask questions, and learn what the other person is thinking. Then sincerely thank them for sharing and walk away better informed and prepared to understand a different point of view. Build the relationship!