The Peace Maker Part 2 by Ken Sande
Great advice, I highly recommend this book.
Engage Rather than Declare
One of the best ways to make people defensive is to abruptly announce what they have done wrong. If you launch into a direct and detailed description of their faults, they are likely to close their ears and launch a counterattack. Therefore, it is wise to think carefully about how to open a conversation in a way that shows genuine concern for the other person and engages him in listening to your words without being defensive. If you are talking to a friend who trusts you and is not likely to react strongly to the issue you want to raise, you may be able to speak fairly candidly. You could affirm your respect and friendship and then describe your concern in direct terms.
If strong trust has not been built between you, however, or if the issue is likely to trigger defensiveness, you would be wise to broach your concern in an indirect way that engages the other person’s heart and mind without putting him instantly on guard. One of the best ways to do this is to use a story that touches the other person heart. Jesus was a master of this approach, using a wide variety of parables to engage people’s hearts (Luke 10:25-27; 15:11-32). Nathan used this approach when he needed to show King David his sin (2 Sam 12:1-13), as did Joab when he wanted to convince David to pardon Absalom (2 Sam. 14:1-22).
A similar technique is to use an analogy or metaphor that uses a familiar concept in the other person’s life as an illustration of way they themselves are behaving (Matt 13:24-33, 44-52). This could involve references to any topic that is important to the other person, which could include family, church, business, sports, or history. For example, when I need to talk to my son about failing to do his chores, I will often use a military metaphor. He admires soldiers, so when I appeal to his ideals of military discipline and respect, he listen more carefully. When I need to talk to my daughter about a relational issue, I will refer to a character she admires from one of the many books she reads. She aspires to noble character and close relationships, so she pays close attention when I compare her to one of her heroines. Similarly, if I need to talk with a pastor about a failure in his ministry, I will often use a shepherd metaphor, much as Nathan did when he approached David.
Whatever approach you use, your goal should be to describe your concern in a way that captures others’ attention, appeals to their values, and gives hope thatt he issue can be resolved constructively. The more you engage another’s heart and the less you declare his or her wrongs, the more likely he or she is to listen to you .