* Acknowledge the other person's feelings. For example, if someone is depressed, the least effective thing you can say is: "Cheer up, it's not so bad." Instead of denying their right to their emotions, start with a statement that shows you understand their feelings.
* Before opposing what a person says, ask them at least three questions about it. You'll know more what the person means, and you'll show that you are genuine in understanding their position.
* Use metaphor. For example, if you're having a disagreement with someone, saying: "I think we've hit a brick wall, is there a way we can tunnel under it?" can shift the conversation into a lighter and more constructive mode.
Jurgen Wolff is a hypnotherapist, teacher and writer. For details of his Powerful Writing With NLP workshop in London on March 8, email: BstormUK@aol.com