Our Chief Executive Officer Tony Hughes talks to Barney Jordaan, Professor of Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Vlerick Business School. Learn why adding weight to your arguments might be having the opposite effect at the negotiation table and how to create stronger arguments.
Barney Jordaan - Just one more question on tactics and behaviours. I find that people try to persuade one by using lots of arguments, is that a good tactic?
Tony Hughes - It's what we're taught in schools but it's not a good tactic.
One of the best ways to illustrate this is to think about trying to negotiate with a child. Let's say they want an ice cream. What they'll say is that they want an ice cream and what you'll say is, “well, you can't have one”. They'll ask why and you'll give them five reasons why not. If the last reason is “I haven't got any money” and they've seen you put some money in your pocket, you've lost. We call it argument dilution. If you dilute your argument too much, and somebody can find a weak link in that chain, then the argument disappears.
Give one reason first and talk through that reason. If that's not acceptable, then look for another reason but don't chain all those arguments together.