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October 01, 2003

Advice for the young at heart

Tom Coates has posted some rather marvellous, yet fabulously simple, advice for members of online communities

Ironically he's not turned on comments, so I have to post about it here. :-)

He says this:

The second piece of advice is about the content of your posts: Argue the issue, not the person. And the third and final piece of advice is about how you argue your point: The art of winning arguments is all about seeming to be the more reasonable party.

In fact this can be combined, and then applied to a wider negotiating tactic for life in general.

An issue is normally just part of a wider interest, so if you can start arguing on the basis of interests rather than positions taken you'll often find consensus just sort of happens of its own accord. You can then look at millions of imaginative ways of satisfying those mutual interests.

So you can restate Tom's advice as a isomorphism. (Unless that's a type of plankton).

Strip an issue back to an interest and you will achieve resolution by having a wider perspective to judge what is sensible
Bring in a wider perspective and you will see the reasons for a given issue, and can then find sensible ways to satisfy the real needs and wants

Now this isn't as snappy as Tom's advice, but it's one less thing to remember. So here's an even shorter summary:

Act like a mum

There's lots of other good stuff about this in the book 'Getting To Yes' - but like most of these books it's done most of its teaching in the first chapter so have a look in the library. (One day I'll write about "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway")

Posted by Tom Dolan at October 1, 2003 11:28 AM

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yeh, i myself was surprised that tom didn't have comments on such a comment worthy post. i mean, hey - it's forum ettiquete haha.

Posted by: kavi at October 1, 2003 02:59 PM

Another fitting quote that I have heard before is "On entering a debate the objective is to learn not to win"

Posted by: Orinoco at October 2, 2003 12:48 PM

Something that i think is interesting about discussions in general are that people rarely will be prepared to lose face and concede defeat. However your arguments will influence them for the next time they have a similar discussion - its a bit like in a football match you appeal to the ref not in the belief they will change their decion but to ensure the next 50/50 goes your way.

Posted by: Phil at October 3, 2003 01:12 PM

I was a moderator for a wee while back in May/June then got kicked off?
Considering this advice was the standard format and I didnt know therefore broke nearly every rule (uh-oh!)I am now not surprised... but dissapionted, to learn it too late, thats life innit.
I like UMS and its a good idea, well done Tom!
(You make a good Mum)

Posted by: Kendal at October 8, 2003 10:45 PM

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