I very much liked these four steps from philosopher Dan Dennett, in how to argue with strong opponents that pretty much reflects how I conducted my union negotiations on tough issues. Thanks to my friend Nigel for this:
How to compose a successful critical commentary:
- You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
- You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
- You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
- Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.
The rest of his article is at: