When you’re in the middle of an argument, validating the person you’re arguing with is probably the last thing on your mind. But it should actually be your top priority. If you validate your counterpart’s perspective, expertise, and feelings, you will keep the conflict focused on the issue. Use language that demonstrates that you value the other person’s perspective. For example, say something like, “I think this is a really important issue that we need to talk through openly” or “I think it took guts to put that on the table. I respect that.” You can also validate someone by repeating back to them what you heard them say: “From your perspective, this is about…” These tactics can reduce defensiveness and increase the speed with which you get to a mutually agreeable solution.