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For More Agreement, Abandon The Labels And Stick With The Facts - Grasshopper

It seems that labeling someone just gets people to line up on opposing sides of the definition.

In the world of sports, one of the most hated labels by athletes is “choker.” Its general meaning is they froze up when the pressure was on. It’s not something anyone, including athletes, wants to be called. It’s belittling and it causes arguments between supporters and detractors of the person labeled that way. It’s an argument without end.

 

What if you just cited the statistics? Johnny Basketball scores 15 fewer points in playoff games than he does during the regular season. Johnny, to date, hasn’t played up to his regular season average in playoff games.

 

No one can disagree with the factual data. They may attempt to explain the numbers, but the stats are the stats.

 

If you want to start an argument and get people to line up for and against your characterization quickly, put a pejorative label on someone. “He/She’s a cotton headed ninny muggin.” Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines because there’s going to be a lot of crashing into each other ahead.

 

Notice that the discussion now becomes about the label and less about any issue that could be factually discussed where the possibility of agreement is far greater. You will never agree on the label.

 

Avoiding name-calling is not only polite; it’s productive.

 

Of course, labeling may work for you if you don’t have the facts on your side. Ask any trial attorney and they will tell you, “If you don’t have the facts, argue the law.” Name-calling, quite often, is a strategy to get you to look away from the facts.

 

We increase the odds for agreement when we stop calling someone an “oddball.”

 

TV and movie character, Detective Joe Friday left us with the mantra that will lead us towards more agreement: “Just the facts.”

 

All the best,

John



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