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Succeeding in postgraduate study
Succeeding in postgraduate study

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5.6.3 Dealing with different views and approaches

How do you deal with differing opinions?

  • You will never agree with everyone. Differences of opinion can be helpful and are encouraged. However, you will need to think about whether a consensus could be reached, or if it is acceptable to agree to disagree.
  • Acknowledge any uncertainties about the point being made. This will help to develop a better understanding for you and the group.
  • Show appreciation and consider other people’s viewpoints. You can do this with a short appreciative response, followed by time to reflect on what has been written. This will help you to assess whether their opinion holds any sway for you.
  • If you are acting as the facilitator, encourage justification for viewpoints that differ from yours. Taking time to reflect on what has been said may help you to frame a better response.
  • You may need to agree some ‘ground rules’, depending on the nature of the work. Do you actually need a consensus? If so, does the majority rule, or would it be acceptable to disagree, and give different points of view?