Take time to explain why you believe something — not just what you believe and why your opponent is wrong. So how did Bastian switch over from home birth advocate to home birth critic? It started with conversations with researchers in Sydney, who were compassionate about her worldview and generous with their time. In the 1980s, Bastian went to a workshop at a childbirth education conference and met a researcher, Judith Lumley, who wanted to help her understand medical evidence. Through Lumley, Bastian connected with others in the scientific community who took the time to explain not only the evidence behind home birthing but also how to understand its strengths and limitations. Vox.com, April 29, 2017. Doctors have decades of experience fighting “fake news.” Here’s how they win.
When I hear an absolute statement such as “that approach has been debunked!” I’m pretty sure I’m not hearing an informed discussion on a subject. I’ve enough experience to know that most things have nuances to them and that most alternatives to difficult issues are rarely clear cut as to which are optimal.
Given this uncertainty, I find I want to listen more to people that are willing to discuss both the strengths and limitations of a solution. This is different than the PowerPoint led meeting of why the one approach must be done, now. Surprisingly, I find that trying, hard, to understand the other side of an issue is critical to making a good decision. I usually try to understand the other alternatives well enough to be able to convincingly advocate for them.
I’ve also discovered that spending the time to understand another person’s position will often, also surprisingly, bring them around to supporting our approach. These people appreciated being understood and are more willing to go our way because they believe that we will listen to them in the future and consider their concerns. Some folks have thrown their support our way simply because we were the only who spent time trying to understand them.
Are you taking the time to understand the other person’s position and are you sharing both the strengths and weaknesses of your own?