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Don't Let Him Off The Hook

 

Techniques General persuasion > The Art of Being Right > Don't Let Him Off The Hook

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

When you state a question or an argument, and your opponent gives you no direct answer or reply, but evades it by a counter-question or an indirect answer, or some assertion which has no bearing on the matter, and, generally, tries to turn the subject, it is a sure sign that you have touched a weak spot, sometimes without knowing it. You have, as it were, reduced him to silence. You must, therefore, urge the point all the more, and not let your opponent evade it, even when you do not know where the weakness which you have hit upon really lies.

Example

Yes, but you haven't answered my question, so I guess I'd better ask it again...

...sorry, but you still haven't answered the question. Shall I rephrase it?...

Discussion

When people are unable or unwilling to respond to your point, it is a quite common response to attempt to distract you in some way or otherwise change the subject and avoid the question.

This approach simply uses persistence to show that you will not let them get away and will happily wear them down with your determination if need be. When people realize this, they usually give in quickly and it only needs two or three repetitions to reel them in.

A neat description of working against a person who will not let you off the hook is that 'It is like pig wrestling. You are getting down and dirty when you suddenly realize that the pig is enjoying it.'

'Don't Let Him Off The Hook' is the thirty-fourth of Schopenhauer's stratagems.

See also

Distraction principle, Persistence principle

 

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