Home > Alex, Core Business Skills > Rough Conflict or Gentle Manipulation

Rough Conflict or Gentle Manipulation

Forcing, making, convincing, or encouraging people to do what you want is one of the core business skills. If you think about it, managerial jobs almost entirely consist of arguing a point of view or convincing others that your solution is best under the circumstances.

Examples of this are too numerous to list, but here are a few: explaining to your boss why the sales forecast that you made is what it is, why investment in new equipment is needed, or why certain policy changes are necessary.

In most academic environments, at least on a Bachelor level, the problem of communicating your point of view rarely exists, since most of the time answers can be found in the textbook and solutions usually have a clear logical path.

The aim of education at this level is to provide the necessary breadth of knowledge, while subsequent professional experience will teach young graduates how to convey their point of view in more complex circumstances.

Sadly enough, logical argumentation is not always sufficient in the professional world. Professionals that want their point of view to be heard, need to take into consideration the logical capability of their audience, political environment of the company, personal ambitions and fears of individual listeners, level of their own reputation with the target group, and multiple other factors, such as mood of the listeners, time of day, etc, etc.

Most of the time we do not take the factors listed above into consideration. While each person is distinct in his/her approach, most of us will first try to argue our point of view logically. Then, if it is not accepted we tend to get angry and repeat what we said previously. Perhaps we also double check our calculations and if they turn out to be correct we may start forcing our point of view. We may go through this cycle several times, all the while not realising that the measures that we propose may endanger personal interests of our listeners, thus resulting in their refusal to accept them.

So what is a perfect way to make sure that your point of view is heard? Can we actually create an algorithm to help managers in getting their point of view across?

If we google “how to sell” or “how to negotiate” we come across so much information that it is almost impossible to turn it into something meaningful. As such I decided to create my own model of how to get your point of view across. However, if anyone of you came across any articles or books on matter, please leave a note in the comments and you will have my eternal thanks.

The model:

Argumentation framework

This model puts sound logical argument and correct facts at the core of the framework. Without proper facts or accurate information you are less likely to succeed in convincing others of your point of view. It is not to say that you cannot convince people without correct information, but it seems that any success achieved in this way is less stable.

After having your facts strait and established a logical structure, you must consider the point of view of your intended audience. The framework highlights the fact that knowing your audience is just as important as knowing your facts. Essentially we must tailor our argument and highlight different benefits (even the benefits that are not very important to ourself) of the solution we want, based upon our understanding of fears and desires of our audience. For example, you might think that it is very important to highlight that you went to a highly ranked school in your country, but your interviewer really wants an employee who is able to solve practical problems… Hence, you note that your school has a very strong relationships with the business community and that the practical curriculum played a very important role in the school’s ability to achieve a high ranking. As the example illustrates and to put it bluntly, it does not matter what you think is important, what matters is your understanding of what your audience thinks is important.

So, have your facts strait, highlight certain features according to your audience, and reach a personalised conclusion.

Support factors to the right help you to capture the attention of your audience. If your audience trusts you, if you have a high level of actual or implied authority, if your audience is not deprived or stressed, and (etc.), then you will be able to convey your point more effectively.


Categories: Alex, Core Business Skills
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