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A Proposal Beats an Argument

Ben Byth

While there are some of us out there who enjoy arguing, most of us mere mortals would much rather do away with the theatre and get down to business. However, sometimes it is really difficult to get the other person out of the argument – perhaps they are winning, maybe they just think they are winning, or possibly they hope that they will wear you down over time so that you give up.


If you find yourself in an argument you aren’t enjoying, you are probably hearing things like sarcasm, point scoring, debating opinions… and basically a lot of challenges back and forth between yourself and your counter party.


If you want to end this iterative cycle, our advice is to make a proposal.


A balanced proposal which takes into account the other party’s interests and constraints would be ideal, but any old dogs breakfast of a proposal will suffice to beat the argument.


The likelihood of this proposal being accepted simply because you made it is almost ZERO, regardless of how good it is. But the advantage of using a proposal over an argument is that it provides the opportunity to:

  1. Seek a response
  2. Unpack the ‘no’:
    1. Why is the proposal rejected?
    2. Under what circumstances could it be accepted?
    3. Just suppose you could bring other variables into the mix, could it be accepted then?


By asking curious questions about why the proposal is rejected, the proposal will very quickly shift from your opinion to their position, flexibilities and inflexibilities. You will find the counterparty will argue with you much less when they are talking about themselves! Give it a go!


Happy negotiating!

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