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  • Writer's pictureTerry Latham

Pivot Like a Pro: A Playbook for Turning Defensive Conversations Around

Are you tired of feeling like Ross from Friends when you're stuck in a defensive conversation? Do you find yourself yelling "pivot, pivot, pivot!" in your head as you desperately try to turn the conversation around? Fear not, my friends (pun intended), because with a few simple strategies, you too can pivot like a pro and steer the conversation towards a more productive outcome.



Here are three ways to diffuse someone who is defensive or not willing to listen:

  1. Acknowledge their feelings: Start by acknowledging their perspective and showing empathy towards their emotions. Use phrases like "I understand how you feel," "I hear you," or "It sounds like this is really important to you."

  2. Show appreciation for their viewpoint: Even if you don't agree with their perspective, it's important to show appreciation for their point of view. You can say things like "I appreciate your input," "I understand where you're coming from," or "That's an interesting perspective."

  3. Reframe the conversation: If the conversation has become tense or defensive, try reframing it in a more positive or neutral light. For example, you can say "Let's take a step back and look at this from a different angle," or "Can we explore this topic from a different perspective?"

Remember that diffusing a defensive or unwilling listener takes patience, empathy, and a willingness to understand their viewpoint. By acknowledging their feelings, showing appreciation for their input, and reframing the conversation, you can create a more productive and respectful dialogue.

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