Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When A Contrarian Takes The Floor

Beware of the contrarian in the room. As soon as a conversation takes off, he or she will turn into the CONVERSATIONATOR and obliterate any spoken word with endless disagreements and contradictions. They’ll oppose when there’s nothing to oppose.

For example:

You: I wish it would stop raining.
The Conversationator: Be glad you woke up healthy this morning.

What? You make a comment about the weather and the next thing you’re being scolded for not being grateful that you woke up. This is all about control. To have it, the conversationator has to change the subject. Don’t try to figure it out, don’t go on the defensive and don’t bring up the rain again - just be happy you woke up healthy this morning and be quiet.

As much as you would like to avoid them, it’s not so easy. The fact is contrarians are in our lives in business or through close relationships.

One way to handle them is no matter what you’re discussing, make it about them and their opinion. They rarely disagree with themselves. As they go on and on, every now and then, throw in, “You’re right.” You can dare to open the discussion by asking, “I just want to make sure that I understand, you think that…” This may not the most intellectually stimulating conversation but at least it’ll be somewhat pleasant if not a little dull.

If you do get caught up in a heated discussion, end it by saying, “Well, I guess we’ve agreed to disagree.” This is usually a very effective way to shut down the conversationator.

Some contrarians can drive you nuts. Not, Yvette, she thinks they’re too much work and they should be avoided. I think they deserve a chance and should be confronted. They should be told how difficult it is to have a conversation. Tell them how much you care about them and would like to talk to them without always sparring. If they don’t get it, leave it alone and be glad you woke up healthy today.

*Please note, during the month of August we'll be running previous postings. Enjoy! We'll be back in the fall.

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