Communication as a game of arguments

publication date 19.04.2020

Communication for managers - work with arguments

Just as in a game of chess, an opponent reacts to his opponent's move by moving his piece in the playing field, and at the communication level, we can talk about an imaginary game of arguments. For each opponent's argument there is an appropriate counterargument whose finding and strategic use can bring us closer to the stated communication goal.

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The more information, the more arguments and the higher the chance to find the strong ones

Working with arguments has an irreplaceable role in the communication process. In the preparation phase, we first gather all relevant information for a particular communication goal. It is true that the more knowledge we have, the better it is to make subsequent arguments. Quantity is also a prerequisite for the selection and awareness of the strength of the argument. In the tactical phase of preparation, we will be able to choose from the large amount of information those arguments that we consider to be of good quality (bearing, strong) to the target and the counterparty. Through them we can then strengthen the position in the communication process.

Množství nashromážděných vstupních informací je nutné protřídit např.: 

  • easy-to-find information or unavailable - we select from the set of input findings those facts that we know are accessible or easy to detect even for the counterparty. With such information, we can undoubtedly expect that in communication, the counterparty will use it to achieve its own goal, unless the preparatory stage itself is underestimated. In practice, however, we can commonly encounter this, as there is often insufficient time for adequate preparation. What is more important for us, however, is the finding that the counterparty does not have certain relevant information. You need to use them at the right time.
  • verified and unverified - appropriate information should come from a verified source. Without their additional evidence, we could become untrustworthy in the communication process. This does not mean that we will now reject the unverified information. Save them as their time may come and you will find a way to verify them.

Obvious information is not always enough, but that does not mean that we should invent it

Consider the situation comprehensively, even from the perspective of the counterparty. Ask yourself what we are entering into the game with, ie whether we are building our arguments on a solid information base that I can substantiate if needed. Likewise, be aware of what the other party is entering into the game with.

Before commencing the actual communication, it is necessary to clarify what we consider to be a quality, core argument and, conversely, which arguments are by their nature rather supportive. This will determine their strength. Strength is the benefit or benefit that the argument brings into action. Imagine that only your product can create savings of 1 million crowns, the only one in the Czech market environment. This argument is definitely stronger than the argument based on the claim that a similar effect can be achieved by using ten competitors, each of which will save 100,000 crowns. If you also have a savings of 1 million crowns based on the customer's reference, this is an argument not only strong, but also proven, ie better quality. But look unconditionally and do not compare only the numbers eg. The amounts or quantities, etc. offered. It also has an inner sense of his power, the people and mostly decisions based on emotions.

At the very beginning of the communication, there should generally be such an argument that we are most confident that we will be able to withstand the inevitable questions of the counterparty. If a counterparty breaks down the line of argument at the outset, it hardly connects to it, sometimes even impossible.

However, the initial argument is not necessarily the strongest. The first move in the game of chess also moves the pawns in order to free the playing field for moves with thicker figures. It is not a mistake to step up arguments. So we start with information that the adversary does not refute, but it is not a core argument to convince him of our truth, and we are gradually adding to the intensity and strength of the argument until we reach the communication goal. Remember, however, that communication is not just a trumpet of arguments. Although the basic goal of chess is to give a team mate, in communication we can often achieve the goal (with greater satisfaction of all parties involved) by cooperating and finding a solution from which each participant has a reasonable benefit.

Communication for managers - knowledge lines

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Lucie Semelova

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To fix a problem well implies full concentration. Engaging all of your capabilities. Visualizing the knowledge we applied years back. Combining everything and finding truly the best solution. Sadly, many of today´s problems are complex ones and any second best solution amounts to losses. Each solution deserves deep concentration. Nowadays, managers are advised to watch how their workers approach problem solving. Unless they have seen full concentration in their faces, they cannot be sure the workers have done their best.

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