I loosely cluster the skills and habits for disagreeing better into five categories because it can be helpful to “fractionate” a big topic into bite-sized chunks. If you want to take a deeper dive into these bite-sized chunks, here’s where you can find articles on each topic, both those I’ve written since starting on Substack and the hundreds that live on my long-term website.

Fine-tuning communication

Word choice, good questions, and good listening skills and habits contribute to effective communication. We disagree better when we align our verbal and nonverbal communication with intentions and attitudes that foster connection and build rapport.

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Increasing emotional agility

The best conflict resolution and communication skills aren't very useful if we can't access them when we need them most. We disagree better when emotional agility helps us maintain or regain our equilibrium during stressful interactions.

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Examining mental models

How we think about a problem influences how we approach it. Mental models are the explanations and pictures we naturally construct in our heads to make sense of the world. We disagree better when we understand how this “invisible architecture of the mind” influences our experience.

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Valuing good process

Good problem-solving process is like a reliable GPS — it orients us to where we are, guides us around obstructions, and helps us reach our destination safely. We disagree better when we have a coherent way to navigate the conversation.

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Safeguarding the space between

The “space between” is the figurative space between us. Conflict and friction can damage the space between us, but there are things we can do to buffer vital relationships from the harmful effects of conflict. We disagree better when we negotiate in ways that acknowledge and honor the importance of the space between.

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