A different way to tell people they’re wrong

For those of you who know me personally, you’ll know that I’m very analytical, and when presented with a question, I’m very quick to respond, often immediately. Many times, people are asking me a question or challenging me with a statement about something technical that they think is broken. My first reaction / my nature is such that I respond with ‘no, you’re wrong, here’s why’. In my mind, I’m just providing an analytical response, but I think that to some people, it comes across poorly, and is more confrontational than it is helpful.

In reflecting on this, I think that there’s a better approach for responding to these challenges – here’s what I’m going to work on. When somebody tells me ‘X is broken’, and I know (for whatever reason) that they’re wrong, rather than responding ‘No, it’s not.’ I think I’m going to try something different. I’m going to respond ‘That’s interesting. Tell me why you think it’s broken.’, and let them explain. Following that, rather than saying ‘No, It doesn’t work that way.’ I think I’m going to reply ‘If you consider how X works, (insert appropriate explanation here) , you may reconsider that conclusion.

I’m conveying the same information to the person asking the question, but I think it can come across as more education and less confrontation. There’s no reason to raise defenses just because we’re disagreeing on something. Just some food for thought on becoming a better communicator. The best lessons come from within, right?