Win-Win Tactics


Notwithstanding the higher feel-good factor of win-win, there are some important tactics to learn and employ. Recognising these tactics in others is also helpful to establish the common ground.

Detecting And Engaging

Once you understand that the other person is win-win then things move along very nicely. Your greatest challenge is to establish whether the person is on one side or another. For this reason, we learn all the tactics of win-lose in order to recognise them and defend against them.

The Rule of Three Favours

Rule of Three Favours

The Meaning of Words

Learn to spot when people are using and abusing the very meaning of words. In this conversational tactic, the meaning of a word shifts subtley to support a difficult position. That is, at the beginning it means one thing, at the end it means something different.

The thing that is important is not the word but the meaning. You have a perfectly good meaning there. You could repeat that phrase everytime but it is more convenient to pick a word to use as a shorthand for it. As long as we can agree on the word and what we are using it to mean then we could use any word to communicate. Of course, it is easier if the word is being used in some semblance of its common manner.

The problem is that some people who have other purposes than communication won't use words consistently because they think it serves their purposes to use them inconsistently. It does not help, when dealing with these people, to fall back on using the definition itself (which a is defensive characteristic of writers in the Austrian school, BTW), because then the dissemblers and sophists will just play word games to try to corrupt and confuse the definition itself (all the way back to "what is is").

Communication requires some common ground and good faith. In the absence of those things there is no possibility of it and no point in trying. With those things it is quite easy.

Best, CCS, Craig Spencer, 2nd December 2005.

Generally people use different meanings unconciously, that is, at a subconscious level where they have internalised the activity. It would be odd and rare to meet someone who consciously, deliberately, employed a distinct meaning in the course of an argument.

However, people they either do it as a matter of course, or accidentally. This is somewhat correlated with whether they are naturally win-win or win-lose.

If the shift in meaning of a word is spotted, it can be pointed out, and the response can be equally illuminating; Someone who is a poor win-lose negotiater is likely to get quite angry when such a trick are revealed, whereas better ones will be put on notice and be much more cautious in the future. This in itself will improve your relationship as your opponent will be careful not to egregiously shift the meaning of words, thus closing off at least one avenue. Note however that this will be evident in their discussions with you, but they will revert in discussions with others to freely abusing the meaning of words as being optionally tuned to the needs of the moment.

People who do such not out of a need to employ win-lose but perhaps because they believed in their arguments will generally be embarrassed to be caught out like this. In this case it is necessary to be very sensitive and to not push the point. Let the implications settle, and perhaps change the tone of interaction so as to avoid the glaring truth.

Tactics within Win-Win