Monday, September 26, 2011

While Debating Via Email, Start With The Areas Of Agreement

While debating things over email, which happens a lot in distributed teams, it is always better to start by pointing out that we are all working to accomplish the same goal and we agree on several points. Then go to the point of debate and state your argument. If you cannot agree on one thing, don't let that stop the discussion. Agree to disagree on that one point and move over to the next point. You will be surprised how much such a small thing changes the outcome of the debate or discussion.

My friend and colleague @Chirag_Mehta added this comment.
I always follow this and it works. I do one more thing: after highlighting the agreements, I explicitly mention the disagreement to confirm my assumption. Many times, it turns out that what I thought was a disagreement wasn't really a disagreement. This also helps the other people to focus on the disagreement and not on the people who have the disagreement. It's a basic element of design - focus on the artifact and the behavior and not on the person.

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