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“I agree with you.”

“I understand your position.”

Everyone loves hearing these phrases.

The twin barriers of identity and ego have rendered many discussions impossible. People fall quickly into arguing to defend their identity and further their ego. Points of view become stuck as points of absolute difference. It’s them or us, right or wrong, win or lose. We have lost the generative art of argument. The loss of nuance removes all possibilities of connection.

As we work to deal with difficult topics and wicket problems, it is more important than ever to seek commonality in discussions. Whether this is face-to-face or online. We need to maintain rapport to facilitate ongoing dialogue. Seeking points of commonality relieves tension. It reminds us that our positions are not as different as we may feel.

When we can suspend our identity defences and ego needs to genuinely look for commonalities, we open ourselves to far more satisfying and enlightening conversations.