Facts and Feelings + Opinions | Basics of Management

Facts and feelings

Facts and Feelings + Opinions, Basis of Management

When faced with a situation of declared or potential tension that we encounter in both professional and private life, we are often confronted with exchanges where facts and feelings and opinions become entangled (jumbled). We all face situations in which the mixture of facts, feelings and emotions lead at best to misunderstandings and at worst to violent conflict.

What are the differences between Facts and Feelings or Sentiments and Opinions?

Deeply different, they have neither the origin, nor the expression, nor the impacts. They are like three possible wavelengths

The facts are objective and measurable. They express concrete things, they are verifiable and quantifiable. One fact allows an INDISCUTABLE statement… for the other and for me

The feelings express a sensation, a feeling, an emotion. It can be embarrassment, fears, annoyance, or satisfaction… Identified by the non-verbal (gesture, intonation…) feelings are felt “inside”, they are INDISCUTABLE.

Read also: Influencing Someone | How to influence someone without manipulating them?

Opinions express a judgment, a point of view, an appreciation, an evaluation.

They result from our Values, our education, our culture, or our beliefs. Opinions are always DISCUTABLE and therefore subject to argument and conflict.

What is the purpose of differentiating them?

First, because any discussion based on opinions carries with it the risk of conflict and disagreement. Opinions are not to be rejected but to be replaced in their rightful place because they can be the expression of an intuition.

Secondly, because feelings are a source of hidden reason that is sometimes incomprehensible to the interlocutor.

Gone are the days when it was instilled in true dogma that the expression of feelings was a mark of weakness, and the principle, finally recognized as a suicidal nonsense. Feelings are an important factor in problem solving and active listening helps express them.

Finally, because starting with the hard facts, without judgment or interpretation, allows us to pose a problem on an indisputable common basis.

How to do Facts and Feelings + Opinions in the basis of management?

It is essential to differentiate between the three “wavelengths” so as to give a framework for the exchange and not to slip into “phantom” opinions or feelings which create areas of inaccessible blockages.

Different comprehensive methods are possible, active listening, non-violent communication etc…

1. ISOLATE the hard facts without judgment or interpretation;
2. HELP the expression of feelings (feelings) in the context of active listening;
3. KEEP under control opinions that are already very weakened by isolating the facts;
4. SEARCH TOGETHER for the solution

And after ?

Talking “FACTS” as a staple of any discussion is addicting :-). Soon after you start to take this principle into account, it becomes the basis of your thinking.

The first effect is on you. By making a habit of isolating the facts from the start, you bring your feelings and opinions back to their proper place and regain control over their harmful power. Your interventions, discussion are more structured, clearer, more logical and your transmission of information becomes simplified and objective. To isolate the facts is DESTRESSING!

The second effect appears in your interlocutors. Faced with a structured dialogue, based on the facts, the exchanges are better controlled and reassuring for your interlocutors. Discussions based on this principle lay the foundations for mutual respect and the search for an effective solution.

Sources: PinterPandai, Cice Rivera / Medium, Inc, Thrall (pdf)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)


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