But, but, but
it’s true, Emil, President Schmoe is an idiot.”
matter, my friend. True or not, it doesn’t serve
“So am I supposed to lie, Emil?” No. You just need to be
a little cleverer.
You can be clever, can’t
you? You of the superior political point of view.
Exactly, my friend.
But. “But” is your best friend
in a discussion. It allows you open a thought or question with something
positive, or innocuous, something that will get your friend’s attention.
For example: President Schmoe is a strong leader, but what concerns me
about policy B is that it hasn’t taken into account X, Y and Z.
This tactic does several things for you. It opens with something your
friend can agree with. It can be a true statement for both of you. You
just happen to think we’re being strongly led in the wrong direction.
It focuses the discussion on the policy… not the person. As humans,
we get emotionally tied up with our leaders far more easily than with
a policy. It allows you say everything you want to about the policy without
even saying the policy is stupid, just that there are things that concern
you about it. Finally, your friend will actually listen, eager to answer
all of your “concerns.” And in listening, they may just see
a little kernel of wisdom here and there in your analysis.