The Agreement Frame is a strategy to redirect a person’s argumentative energy rather than attempting to overcome it. The Agreement Frame is one of the best methods to reduce resistance or contention when communicating with people, especially during negotiations. It also works well to neutralize bully-like criticism.
In a business or professional context, the agreement frame takes one or more of the following form combinations:
- I respect……..also……..
- I appreciate……..and……..
- I agree……..also……..and……..
Refrain from using “I understand” in the Agreement Frame. Each person understands from different perspectives and experiences that are unique to each other. Someone can argue that you do not understand, yet they can’t easily argue that you do not respect, appreciate or agree.
Common language patterns utilizing the Agreement Frame include statements such as;
- “I agree, (restate)… and this means …”
- “I agree, (restate)…, and what’s more, we should …”
- “I respect where you’re coming from, and what we need to look at now is…”
- “I appreciate what you’re saying right now, and our objective now should be to look at…”
- “I agree that from your point of view this is accurate, so what we might want to concentrate on then is…”
When using the Agreement Frame avoid using words such as “but”, “yet” or “however” that negate what the person just said. They will negate everything that was said immediately preceding it and prevent the moving into an agreement frame. Instead use “and” or “also” that will bring the two statements together.
Avoiding resistance from others keeps everyone involved in what is being said while leaving them open to new ideas. The Agreement Frame is very useful in conflict resolution of all kinds as well as Sales and Negotiation.
By saying you agree, you keep others on your side and open to the conversation while you move toward the point you wish to make with less resistance.
In personal or non-formal conflict situations you can respond to a critical comment, such as “Your shoes are ugly!” using the affirmation or agreement frame, such as:
- Thank you…
- You’re right…
- I appreciate your opinion…
- I completely agree…
You can also reaffirm the negative comment as if it were a compliment (confusion inducing response), such as:
- I appreciate that… It’s nice that someone has finally noticed..
- Thank you… It’s good to know that someone else also thinks my shoes are very ugly.
- That’s nice of you… My poor taste in shoes has finally paid off.
You can also overemphasize the negative comment to make it absurd (exaggeration response), such as:
- You’re right… My shoes are uglier than a plate full of leftover meatloaf topped with gray gravy and gummy bears!
- My thoughts exactly… They’re the ugliest pair from my used ugly shoe collection!
- Thanks… I bought this pair of shoes from a dirty homeless man who smelled like old cheese!
You can also defer it back to the instigator (redirect response). Such as:
- Thank you… I’m so glad that you share my taste in shoes!
- I appreciate that… Finally someone else who loves ugly shoes as much as I do!
- Awesome… We both have the same great taste in shoes!
You can also misunderstand the instigators comment (misintepret response). Such as:
- Yeah… These shoes are super snuggly…
- No way! These shoes are not snuggly! They are very uncomfortable.
- True.. The Gugly shoe brand is one of my favorites.
- That’s not true… Your shoes are not ugly.. They look awesome!