Changing the Subject

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Identification

This strategy is used to redirect, allowing the adverse party to exploit an open issue in ambiguity. An offer or request is made which is not relevant to the core issue. The actually important issue is then dropped; this is a sign that your opponent does not want to discuss the issue at hand or wants to delay it for various reasons[v]. In this cloud of ambiguity, additional issues can creep in as part of the deal when they were never really discussed.

Example

An example is when one cites history in an attempt to derail: “That did not work in 2006, so why are you trying to pull it now? The issue is not about trying to build a homeless shelter. You failed then, so what I am talking about is success, and success looks like my requirement, which is to give those homeless a bus ticket out of town.”

Solution

The solution to this is to get back on topic. Repeat the topic that is on point, again and again. If they persist in changing the subject, say that it is an open end and can be revisited later. For example, “This meeting is about public bonds for infrastructure building, not about bus tickets.”

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