Communication 1: Disagreeing without Arguing

Communication 1: Disagreeing without Arguing

Date: 10/1/1999

Do you enjoy or do you know someone who enjoys classical music? Did you ever notice that the earliest classical music that people listen to is from the Baroque period?  One reason why is that music written prior to the Baroque era is missing one essential element--dissonance (an unpleasant combination of sounds).

At first this seems strange. One would think that the absence of unpleasant sounds would make the music more enjoyable. In reality, the opposite is true because the right amount of dissonance in a musical piece is like adding salt to a dish you are cooking.  The right amount  makes the food taste just right. But what happens when you add too much salt? Or,  too little?

In music, too, the correct balance of consonant and dissonant sounds makes the music interesting and pleasing. It engages your attention and gives the music a feeling of movement as you anticipate the dissonance resolving into consonance. Too much dissonance can give the music an abrasive quality; too little makes it boring.

In NLP there is a conept called Pacing and Leading. When you "pace" you say a statement that in some way agrees with the other person's comment. When you "lead" you say a statement that in some way disagrees with the first person's comment; you are moving them away from their original point or comment. 

For example, if you say "It is a sunny day" and I respond "Yes, it is" I am pacing you.

If, on the other hand I would respond "What are you talking about? You call this a nice day? It is overcast and cold outside! This is not a nice day by anyone's definition! " then I am leading you---and very strongly so!  By the way, how do you think this discussion will wind up? 

The third possibility would be to use both pacing and leading.  For example, Yes it is a nice day,  personally I prefer cooler weather, but it is very pleasant outside."

Healthy,  effective communication,  involves the right balance of pacing and leading---and each in the proper intensity. 

 There can be harmony or disharmony between the two people based on how they express themselves.