This is a clever trick used by control freaks to get their way when they have the time to spare. It works by exploiting the frailty of human memory, or possibly just the frailty of peoples’ belief in their own memory.
- Step one: You start by presenting the first part of the argument. This has to be very carefully worded to avoid expressing an opinion. You only give them scraps, avoid the argument entirely, saying it is only the first part of the discussion and the real work will come in the next installment.
- If anyone on the other side tries to force the argument, set out their stall or even go for a win, then you are all ready to disarm them. Thank them for their contribution but reiterate that it is just too soon to make any decisions. You will of course take into consideration their views, but the time for real debate will come later.
- If you do this effectively then you can close down any debate quite quickly. After all nobody wants to expend energy needlessly. They might as well store it up for the real discussion next time. This is of course what you are after, the less said now the better.
- Step two: This comes after a long gap, preferrably several months to give the memory effect time to kick in. Now you go back with a fully formed idea. You explain that following the full discussions last time you have all the information needed to present the full picture.
- For the other side this is going to come as a shock and they may put up a struggle. You get aorund this by reminding them they had the chance to discuss it last time, we’ve been over this, no need to re-open old discussions. You remind them of any of the things they said the last time and show how you have incorporated them into the final outcome (just lie if necessary).
- If someone really holds out then you can get nasty and try to make them appear as someone who is going back on a consensus. Or even cast them as someone who will never agree a position. If you can isolate them then you should carry the others.
Surely it can’t be as simple as this? Surely people must be able to remember what happened before? Well I spot this being used almost every day and to my constant surprise the answer is yes it is that simple and no people don’t remember things that well. Especially if you appear to confidently remember things about the first step (again lying helps).
Now obviously this is a crude explanation of this technique. It requires subtlety in the handling of the conversations and a fair amount of bravado to get people to believe you. Watching a hypnotist should provide good inspiration.