Re: MEMES: Pigeon-holing your opponent

From: Barbara Lamar (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 11:12:57 MST

At 11:38 PM 01/24/2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:
>Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> >
> >
> > Let me know if anybody has any insights on this problem or knows a
> > way out of it.
>Have us all recite 10 times on arising "Others are not as stupid as I
>may first be inclined to believe and there beliefs are not so simple as
>I might think?"

I like this one. :-D

Then there's the technique described in a book that was required reading
for a long-ago friend of mine when he got a job selling Encyclopedia
Britannica. The title of the book was *The Art of Manipulation*; the author
claimed it was a condensation of teachings he'd received from a seasoned
con artist. When you must disagree with someone, he says, preface your
statement with: "Nine times outta ten I'd agree with you. And, really, I
agree with you now. But there's just one thing..." My friends and I used
it among ourselves, and it worked very well. We'd end up laughing at the
preface, and the laughter would forestall any hard feelings about the

There's a lot to be said for humor as a lubricant for human-to-human

It's just occurred to me that I often unconsciously use a form of the
nine-times-outta-ten technique--not from a desire to manipulate but rather
to try to find some common ground to start from when I don't agree with
something someone has said. In responding to one of Charlie Stross's posts
yesterday, I neglected to begin the post by mentioning the part of
Charlie's posts that I agreed with, and my post had a far more negative
tone than I'd intended. Even though it would have taken more time to list
the stuff I agreed with, it would have more accurately reflected my own
beliefs, plus it would have provided a common ground--and it would have set
a more friendly tone for the whole post.


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