This content is for Premium and Premium Plus members only.
Log In Register


We all try to appeal to a sense of science and logic to influence from an authoritative stance, as Western civilization touts math and science as the only reliable measure of truth. If we don’t believe an airfoil design will fly, we calculate the lift using the laws of aerodynamic theory. If we don’t believe a building will stand, we trust structural engineers. But systems do fail, because we do not account for all system complexities. And the big issue with math and science is we don’t emotionally connect with them.We may be cognitively aware of overwhelming evidence on how to shape what we want, whether it is public policy or a course of treatment for a patient. But facts are not always compelling; there are those who think vaccines are not a public benefit or that climate change is a conspiracy. The reason we fail to be convinced with math or science is lack of understanding of the emotional side of human engagement. Whether it is motivated by fear or love, we do as we will. Using science may be very persuasive in many situations, but be prepared to back your statistics and give examples and stories that connect emotionally. If you do not address the underlying emotion, pure scientific data may not work.


Negotiator 1: “I am not requiring vaccines for my family because they cause autism.”Negotiator 2: “As your neighbor, I respect your decision, but did you know the one report that linked vaccines to autism was discredited? If this community does not reach the 97% vaccine rate, children may die. It may be my baby Jill, or your Jack. This can be prevented.”


A corollary is the didactic negotiator (DN), who claims vast knowledge and multiple degrees in science. The way to undermine this tactic is a two-step process: 1. Ask the DN for his actual degree, peer reviews on position, a source, case, or study; 2. If it is produced, read the source and see if it applies to your case. You may be able to undermine the authority by distinguishing your case from the one presented.

Search Tactics

Tactics Engine

Tactics Engine Main Page