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How to Talk When Contradicted


To contradict flatly is, of course, to be extremely rude. You yourself will never be so ungentlemanly.

.Yet you are sure to meet ungentlemanly people who will contradict you.

How shall you talk to them?

Consider why the person has contradicted you.

A direct contradiction may be an ungentlemanly assertion of truth; it may be an expression of conceit; it may be bumptious ignorance trying to conceal itself; it may be a direct expression of personal antagonism.

Study these reasons and think out how you should talk.

What is your own object?
It is to establish a truth.

You have made an assertion. Someone has flatly contradicted you.

If you contradict him, in turn, you place yourself in his rank.

If you become angry, you lose self-control—and loss

of self-control always defeats speech

Keep calm, maintain your poise, avoid contradiction in return, and turn to a search for the truth.

If you are wrong, you wish to know it; if your opponent is wrong, you wish him to know it.

Therefore, when contradicted, no matter how rudely^ say: "You may be right. Let me hear your evidence. What authority have you?"

In nine cases out of ten you will dumbfound your opponent by asking for evidence.

If he has poor evidence, or no evidence at all, present your own evidence, giving it quietly and calmly.

Put the whole matter on the basis of seeking for the truth.

There is always the possibility that you yourself may be wrong. Avoid discomfiture by asking at once for evidence, and by being as ready to abide by it a3 you expect the other person to be.

1. Never contradict a person, even if he has contra-* dieted you.

2. Endeavor to discover truth.

3. Avoid anger.

4. Ask for evidence.

5. Present evidence.


You have said that the per cent, of life lost in the Great War is less than the per cent, lost in the Civil War. Your friend contradicts you, and calls your statement ridiculous. How will you speak to him?


How to Meet Antagonism


Among those who work with you, or under your direction, there may be one or two who boldly antagonize you on every occasion.

Without saying anything that is directly blameworthy, they stir up trouble. You feel such people to be disturbing factors.

How can you meet their antagonism?

Here is the way.

In your talk avoid playing towards them the part that they play towards you. The fact that they express antagonism is no reason why you also should do it.

Ask them, frankly and openly, to tell you what you can do to make them contented. Ask this, not only in a general way, but also in particular. "Tell me exactly what you would like to have done. Be precise."

If the antagonist presents his points, you have a basis for further talk. You may possibly approve. If the plan is unwise, you may show where it is unwise. In either case you gain the advantage, and tend to remove the antagonism.

In some cases you will find it wise to yield enough to give a practical illustration of your opponent's lack cf wisdom. "Give him rope and he will hang himself," as the proverb says.

Another way to meet antagonism is to make the antagonist one of your chief helpers along the lines in. which he is antagonistic.

Say to him: "You say our plans are wrong; that ths method is foolish. You may be right. What we want is to find the best plan. I want you to assist me in developing a method that will work. Think it out carefully, and give me the results as soon as possible."

Ask for his advice, recognize his sense of importance, show him the value of his service, and by talk alone you may entirely remove antagonism.

1. Avoid returning antagonism.

2. Ask for a frank explanation of desires.

3. Ask for suggested plans.

4. Discuss such plans sympathetically.

5. Yield wherever possible.

6. Ask your antagonist to help you along the lines in which he is antagonistic.

7. Appeal to his sense of self-importance.

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