Appreciating the opinion of your friends, family, coworkers, or acquaintances during a conversation is more important than getting a chance to say what you think .It is actually what makes them feel happy, relevant and receptive to what  you communicate. It boosts their self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Unfortunately, most men and women amidst discussions and conversations tend to forget this fact.

What really happens is that as a man or woman, you will tend to find yourself placing too much emphasis on issues that interest and affect you and forget to appreciate the opposing points in the conversation. When you hear a unreceptive opinion you will most likely respond like: Excuse me ?.., No…., I disagree…., I don’t think so…., But I think…, and so on. What you may not know is that by adopting such phrases you sound  unappreciative of other people’s opinions. The full result of this is to see your conversations brimming with tension, misunderstanding ,misinterpretations or ending unsatisfactorily.

Not Appreciating people’s opinions can also affect you personally by negatively impacting your career prospects as people may judge your career intentions unfavorably. As a graduate, job searcher or employed person, it is also a good reminder that your work potential is not measured solemnly by your technical competence, but mostly by your emotional intelligence i.e. how well you respond to, work with and manage people.

The following are therefore two steps you can personally take to first take the sting out of your opinions and seamlessly appreciate divergent ones:

1. Delete the words “But” and “No” from your dictionary, instead use “And” Maybe….
“But” and “No” are negative affirmation in any conversation. I know you have been frequently using them in your conversation but, its consequent results are far more depleting that you may think.

For example, when someone says something that you are totally against, instead of negatively criticizing his opinion and getting into a worthless confrontation you can say:

You may have a point there. And I also think we should……….

That sounds better than saying:

No, I don’t think that will work because……….

The latter statement is bound to not only get you into a sterile confrontation with the people you relate with, but be taken as a personal rejection of the person. It can easily make people start developing a negative perception of your opinions or advice, no matter how good they are. It may also ruins your personal and professional targets as you spend more time defending yourself than getting on with what you need to do.

2. Ask Questions
You can also better manage other peoples opinions by asking questions as there is nothing that people like more than to talk about what they know or what massages their intellectual ability. For instance, when you ask someone a question you are directly telling the person “that you are the most valuable and important person when it comes to this issue. You also approve the person to begin speaking about himself, his experience or expertise. Which man or woman would dare turn down such an opportunity? You tell me

Still on asking questions, the best known communication experts in the world share one thing in common. They are good questioners. Leaders like Barrack Obama, Martin Luther King Junior among others focus their energies more in asking questions that will provide more direction in tackling issues. This makes them leaders and experts in communication as they know how to appreciate and merging divergent opinions into a mutually exclusive goal or message.

In conclusion, Henry Ford once said that ‘if there is any one secret to success…….. it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that angle as well as from yours.” So next time you think of having a conversation or discussion with someone, don’t forget to appreciate other people’s opinions.

To get more relevant information on how to better communicate and influence people, I recommend you to take time and read: How to Win Friends& influence people By Dale Carnegie and Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus by John Gray

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