Discussing involves active listening. Curiosity. Openness. It requires genuine interest in ideas, even if they contradict your own.
Defending involves taking and holding a position. Looking for openings to argue against another idea. Preparing your response, while you should be listening.
Discussing takes time. Discussing requires courtesy, respect, and patience. Defending, not so much.
Most discussions we see on TV, or hear on the radio, aren’t discussions at all. They’re exercises in defending. Questions and answers are metered out in an attempt to defend one position or another.
It’s often the same in a business setting.
The search for alignment, a conclusion, a decision, or an all-out victory often trumps everything else, including a meaningful exchange of ideas.
How often do you defend, instead of discuss? Be honest. We’re just discussing here…no need to get all defensive.
What if you went through an entire day without defending? Think you could do it?