Rachel Maddow Shows How To Negotiate, How To Argue

What You Say When You Want To Make A Point Cautiously
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

Why in the world would you ever want to make a point cautiously?

Benjamin Franklin explained why in his Autobiography,  Just in case you haven’t read that classic, or you’ve forgotten his point, here’s the answer. You just might be wrong.  And if you are, the other party could make a fool out of you.

In order to keep that from happening–even if you’re pretty confident you’re right–you might use a technique that Rachel Maddow used on her MSNBC show the other evening.  It’s a verbal technique that you can use, not just for an interview, but also if/when you negotiate. In fact, Abraham Lincoln used a version of this technique repeatedly in the courtroom.

Rachel Maddow was doing an interview with Stephanie Cutter, who is Deputy Campaign Manager for the Obama campaign.They were discussing a speech that the President had just made.There’s no reason to get into the substance of the interview itself,  What’s worth looking at is how Maddow made her point.

Here is the technique–what Maddow said: “Let me ask about one strategic issue that I think I saw in the speech…but I’m not sure I’m seeing it right…”.

Maddow then stated what she thought she saw and heard, then asked Cutter for confirmation. (Lincoln in the courtroom would set up the statement similarly, then would say, “Did I get that right?”)

If you use this approach, perhaps in a negotiation, you might say, “Am I hearing this right? Is this what you’re saying?”  or “Is this what you’re offering?”

If the other person demurs, you can then ask “What did I hear wrong?” 

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Whatyousay.com likes this interviewing and negotiation technique because it’s subtle and courteous, yet powerful.


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—Gene Griessman is an award-winning professional speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-435-2225 or abe@mindspring.com Learn more about Gene Griessman at presidentlincoln.com and atlantaspeakersbureau.com

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