say «you’re wrong»
You can tell people they’re wrong by a look or an intonation or a gesture just as eloquently as you can in words – and if you tell them they’re wrong, do you make them want to agree with you? Never! For you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgement, pride and self-respect. That will make them want to strike back. But it will never make them want to change their minds.
If you’re going to prove anything, don’t let anybody know it. Do it so subtly, so adroitly, that no one will feel that you’re doing it.
If a person makes a statement that you think is wrong – yes, even that you know is wrong – isn’t it better to begin by saying: «Well, now, look, I thought otherwise, but I may be wrong. I frequently am. And if I’m wrong, I want to be put right. Let’s examine the facts».
There’s magic in that sentence. Nobody in the heavens above or on Earth beneath or in the waters under the Earth will ever object to your sayin: «I may be wrong. Let’s examine the facts».
We like to continue to believe what we’ve been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to it.
In other words, don’t argue with your customer our your spouse or your adversary. Don’t tell them they’re wrong, don’t get them stirred up. Use a little diplomacy.
Dale Carnegie @ How to win friends and influence people.