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  • Writer's pictureJ.Yuhas

7 Phrases That Will Professionally Diffuse Any Disagreement


If you have found yourself in a fruitless debate with a colleague or client, it can be quite challenging to hold back your powerful emotions and save face. As much as you want to share what’s on your mind, you know it can come across as unprofessional and detrimental to the working relationship.

Phrases like “You’re Wrong” or “This Is My Advice To You” can come across sounding judgmental and inconsiderately ill-will to all professionals involved. To prevent damaging the relationship, you’ll want to get out of a ME mindset and use a WE mindset. Positioning yourself with a WE mindset helps you dissolve the disagreement and realign to move the conversation forward.


Here Are 7 Phrases That Will Save The Relationship And Diffuse The Debate:


1.We Don’t Seem To Be On The Same Page

By saying “WE”, this is applying the WE mindset to honor the relationship first and foremost and secondly, diffuse the tension. This lets your colleague or client know you hear what they are saying even if you are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While acknowledging you both are on different pages, it can create better alignment between the two of you to begin negotiating through any unresolved discord.


2.I’m Not Sure We Are Aligned On This Topic

With this statement, you are quizzically owning your perspective in case the other person is unaware of the present disagreement. Owning your thoughts and bringing the confusion to light is assertive and direct, the best form of communication. Also, it allows the other person to agree or disagree with you, clarifying whether there is a misunderstanding. This can help redirect the focus of the conversation into alignment and clear up opposing views.


3.Can You Walk Me Through Your Thought Process

Asking someone to walk you through their thought process is another form of saying you don’t agree, but you would like to further understand and gain additional insight. By seeking more information, it buys you time to think about how to position your next move and strive towards a win-win solution. The more facts and information you gather, the easier it will be to propose a resolution and reach a level of mutual understanding.


4.There Appears To Be Some Miscommunication

When you feel confused or frustrated about where the conversation is going, you can simply let your colleague or client know there appears to be a misunderstanding. This allows you and your professional colleague or client to clarify each other’s viewpoints while trying to assess more about why they strongly believe in their position. By actively listening and asking open-ended discovery questions you will know how to work better together instead of pinning opposing views against the conversation which leads to further conflict.


5.I’m Not Sure I Fully Understand Your Viewpoint

Sometimes playing the naive card has its advantages in business. The number one rule in a negotiation is to gather your facts. Even if you disagree with their perspective, it can be challenging to move forward if you don’t understand their motive or even the goal they want to achieve. This statement allocates you time to strategically think and dive deeper into your colleague or client’s perspective.


6.It Appears We Are At An Impasse

If neither party is willing to budge or you notice things are becoming more heated, you can acknowledge you have reached an impasse. This more or less ends the discussion and removes some of the mental stress. You and your colleague can decide when to regroup at a later date to find a resolution. Also, you may both agree that it's not best to work together or do business altogether. Keeping your integrity as a professional is far more valuable than going down the rabbit hole of intense frustration.


7. It Sounds Like We May Share Different Approaches

At the end of the day you and your colleague may have the same goal, but how you arrive at the goal is completely opposite of each other. There is nothing wrong with having multiple approaches, however; one may be more valuable than the other towards the desired outcome. Seeing which approach is best may require clarity of each step and the only way to clarify them is to acknowledge you’re on two different pages.


If you have tried to resolve the conflict on your own but are still feeling frustrated, reach out for a complimentary call to learn more about how relationship capital consulting can benefit your professional relationships.


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