What You Say When You Disagree: An example from the movie “The English Patient”
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
Here’s an extraordinary example of a skillful way to disagree. Mind you, it will not work if you are not very well read. The participants in this exchange were highly literate.
In an early scene in the movie “The English Patient” Katherine Clifton meets Count Almasy, with whom she will later have a torrid affair.
Katherine tells Almasy that she has read a monograph that he has written, and compliments him on his lean writing style–that he uses few adjectives. Almasy thanks her, and replies: “A thing is a thing, no matter what you put in front of it…fast car, slow car, chauffer-driven car. It’s still a car.”
Without missing a beat or saying, “I disagree, ” Katherine replies: “Love…romantic love, Platonic love, filial love….quite different love, surely.”
If you want to use this technique when you argue, instead of saying, “I disagree,” simply start giving examples that counter what has just been asserted.
You can also adapt this model when you negotiate. If a realtor, say, tells you all the positive features of a property, pause, and say “Needs new roof, new AC, walls need repainting…all reasons for a lower price, surely.”
–Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-435-2225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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