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Respect Other People’s Opinions

Respect Other People’s Opinions

Let’s face it: There are some clients you adore and some clients you, well, adore a little less. But as is the case in most aspects of life, sometimes you just have to understand that other people see things differently from you.

Dale Carnegie, the iconic author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” once said: “Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never say, ‘you’re wrong!’ to them.”

The man’s got a point. When someone disagrees with you, it’s easy to think they are wrong, and this is magnified when you REALLY believe that your opinion is right. But here’s the thing: It’s entirely possible that their opinion and your opinion are both correct, even when you see things very differently.

For example:

  • I really love cilantro. I my opinion, it tastes delicious and enhances some of my favorite dishes.
  • You HATE cilantro and believe it tastes like soap! In your opinion, it is disgusting.
  • If we took a lie detector test together, we would be BOTH be telling the truth — even though our answers were 100 percent different.

That’s the really tricky thing about opinions, when an opinion is an answer, it’s usually one of dozens of possible correct ones.

You don’t have to agree with everyone, but you should learn to respect their right to their opinion. In fact, you can use your difference of opinion as a way to deepen your relationship and create a useful dialogue with your clients.

Here’s a good way to handle a business situation, when your opinion is different from the other person — especially a client.

  • Explain that your sole intent is to find the best solution for them, which essentially places you both on the same “side.” This completely changes the tone of the conversation.
  • Without interrupting, give the client an opportunity to say what they want to say. They will feel more positive toward you because you’ve demonstrated respect and recognition.
  • If you believe they’re incorrect or about to make a mistake, you should offer them another perspective. But remember: You’re not arguing with them; you’re simply offering your perspective based on your experience and expertise.
  • Offer an example of how your suggested approach has worked in the past, for people with similar issues or challenges. This is more effective than trying to poke holes in their reasoning.
  • Then, again: ask them what they think and listen without interrupting.
  • Because there’s no confrontation and no argument to be won or lost, the client is free to consider your opinion.

Okay, okay: Dale Carnegie wrote his book in 1936 and today’s technologies are very different from back in those days. However, a good idea — showing respect for people’s’ opinions — is just as important today. Because respect never gets old!

Be sure to check in this space soon for more small business marketing ideas!
Megan Smith-Gill

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