Good Manners and Forks

Good manners is much more than knowing what fork to use. Good manners is listening to the other person and showing them respect.

Based on a comment during an interview with George Will

How to navigate Impossible Conversations

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Do you have difficulty having conversations with people who strongly disagree with you? There are plenty of subjects these days that lead to very unpleasant arguments. I don’t have to tell you what these subjects are.

The good news is that there is an excellent book that can teach you how to navigate difficult conversations. I am a retired lawyer. I wish I had read book like this decades ago..

This is not just another self help book. It is essential reading discussions in today’s world. It is practical and full of helpful examples.

Here is a link to the book. Click on the link. Have a look. You don’t have to buy it. It is the book called “How to Have Imposssible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide” by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay.

The commission? Amazon will pay it to me. You don’t pay the commission.

Here is a beautiful and interesting blog

I just discovered this blog. It looks looks like a real winner with a promise of being very helpful.

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There is treasure here!

Questions to think about (3): Love now

“One day, you are going to hug your last hug, kiss your last kiss and hear someone‚Äôs voice for the last time, but you never know when the last time will be. Live every day as if it were the last time you will be with the person you love.”

Does this quote speak to you? Is the message prompting you to do something, right now?

Author of quote unknown to me

Rule based answering 1.1

When answering a question identify a general rule that can guide you.

Example

Q: Your Bank phones saying they are checking their records. They ask you to confirm your account number. How should you respond?

Note. As a general rule Banks do not communicate this way. For this reason a “red flag” should go up and you should not give the information. It is quite probably a scam.

So. bearing in mind this general rule, you might answer as follows:

A: Thank you for calling. As a general rule I do not give this information over the phone. Goodbye.

This is a very simple example but it has wide application. I hope to expand on it in 1.2. which will explain the important role of context in some answers.

Hot tip: Watch how White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki answers difficult questions from the press. It is a master class.

Sunlight and Free Speech

The sunlight of free speech is the best disinfectant against the darkness of irrational beliefs.

Photo by Rajiv Bajaj on Unsplash

Based on a metaphor in Free Speech by Andrew Doyle

Reflection and Commitment

Reflection and commitment

If you commit without reflection you are a fanatic. If you reflect but never act you are of no practical use.

The secret to the instant clear communication of an argument

The secret is the top down sequence.

First state the question and in a few words explain the context.

Second, state your conclusion.

Third, state how many reasons you have for your conclusion.

Fourth, say what each reason is about and then give details.

Fifth, repeat your conclusion.

For example:

“The question is whether the house on 6th Street should be demolished.

My view is that it should be.

I have two reasons for this.

First, it is a health hazard: The walls are broken. The roof is beyond repair. The building is infested with rats.

Second, It is a fire hazard: The rooms are full of rubbish, broken wood and other flammable material. Vagrants light fires in the ruin.

Consequently, my view is that the house should be demolished.”

Note:

  • The hearer is immediately knows what the communication is about.
  • The hearer is immediately told the conclusion.
  • The hearer is told there will be two supporting reasons.
  • The hearer is given a warning that a reason is coming, is told what the reason is and then is given details.
  • The hearer is again told the conclusion.

Watch Lord Jonathan Sumption using this way of arguing. Lord Sumption is regarded as one of the cleverest people in England. Click here.

The top down approach is similar to the Pyramid Principle taught by Barbara Minto. Her book is on Amazon. Click here. Please note this is an affiliate link. This blog post was prompted by my listening to Lord Sumption