In comedic improvisation, the principle of "yes and" means that first you agree with your partner's premise, and then you add to it. Without this essential principle, the scene couldn't go anywhere. And while applying "yes and" to real life is a bit of a business-world cliché, I've found that it's a great way to redirect potential arguments into jovial banter, and keep everyone on the same team.
Tagged With arguments
If you've ever played amateur sports, you know how frustrating it can be to lose a big game due to the bumbling ineptitude of an umpire or referee. Most people understand that bad calls are part of the game and manage to keep their temper under control. But some players morph into Hulked-out John McEnroes, complete with swearing, yelling, name calling and shoving. Is this legal?
Are you avoiding your family right now? So desperate to escape them that you're sitting in the bathroom reading a productivity blog on Christmas Day? Dreading the inevitable fight over politics or your lack of a plus-one or which kid hogged the university fund? Here's your solution: Get drunk and cause a scene.
I really dislike confrontation and will do pretty much anything in my power to avoid most arguments. Still, like anyone, I end up in a few every now and then. I've read a ton of different techniques for handling tense situations, but I heard some great advice this week: "Just ask what they want from the argument." The speaker attributed it to Oprah. While that might be true, there's no record I can find of her ever saying it. It is good advice, though.
Anyone who's ever had to defuse a tense work meeting or even a stressful Christmas dinner knows that sometimes thoughtful de-escalation is the best (and often only) way to get what you want. But some of us have hot tempers, or a tendency to bluster, or are simply ignorant about how to manage conflict -- whether it's at a family event, a work meeting, or on the global diplomatic stage.
Humans are biased. We remember things that confirm our beliefs more than things that don't. And every day, we're presented with new information and arguments that we have to sort through, especially from politicians.
Once a week, for the past eight-odd years, I overhear it: "It's GIF, not JIF." "Actually, it's officially JIF." If the arguers are educated in the subject, they will rattle through their supporting arguments: It's JIF because its inventor says so and it's like "giraffe"; it's GIF because it stands for "graphics" and it's like "gift".
Since I got married, my "love language" has become the love language of picking your crap up off the floor -- because nothing kills romance or libido faster than cleaning up after someone like a 1950's housewife. And yet this is the norm for many heterosexual new parents: That the woman, whether she works or not, will do most of the labour (much of it unseen) around child-rearing and housekeeping.
We may have had egalitarian relationships pre-kids. We may anticipate that we'll enjoy a pristinely fair division of labour post-kids. But when the actual baby arrives -- well, it can be like a bomb going off in your marriage.
Your coworker complains that your loud phone calls are distracting him, and you fire back that he's always late to meetings. Or you try to tell your boss the new system she's implemented is inefficient, but find yourself talking in circles. Or maybe your team has been at odds for weeks about how to tackle an assignment, and now you're about to miss the deadline. If any of that sounds familiar, you're not alone.
Arguments aren't won with information; they're resolved with rhetoric, the art of persuasion. In Thank You For Arguing, author Jay Heinrichs reveals the secrets to mastering rhetoric, identifying logical fallacies, getting what you want through persuasion and keeping arguments from turning into nasty fights.