Forgo the family feud this Christmas, with expert advice to help you avoid the traps of argument dilution

According to YouGov research, one in three people in the UK think it’s likely that they will have an argument with their family this Christmas. Huthwaite International, experts in negotiation, communication and sales, is providing expert advice to families who may find themselves fighting this festive season.

With reasons such as long-standing family tensions (37%) and rivalry between siblings (22%), being voted as the top causes of arguments at Christmas, Huthwaite can offer some advice when the pressure of Christmas day can result in crossfire across the turkey if disagreements aren’t handled well.

The solution, Huthwaite suggests, is to avoid Argument Dilution at all costs. This can help ensure the argument you put forward across the Christmas dinner table is the strongest and most refined, without any additional waffle that weakens your position. In order for it to be effective, it’s important to get your point across and express your view in the simplest way, by positioning only the strongest points and keeping them to a maximum of two.

Neil Clothier, global negotiation expert at Huthwaite International, explains: “If you find yourself trying to reel off every reason that your argument is correct, it’s easy for your adversary to pick up on one weak point that then makes your whole argument redundant. Your argument becomes diluted – a lose-lose situation.

“Here at Huthwaite, we’ve devised a unique set of principles to avoid Argument Dilution during business negotiations that can be applied to those feared family feuds around the Christmas dinner table.”

Huthwaite’s top 7 tips to avoid feared festive fights and feuds becoming unresolved:

  1. Limit the number of points in your argument to two or less. Any more could potentially weaken your point.
  2. Less is more. Don’t feel the need to provide lengthy justifications; Instead keep your supporting arguments brief and to the point.
  3. Even if you feel as though there are many ways to justify your point of view – try not to. Stick to your strongest points and don’t over complicate or over compensate. By doing so you’ll simply dilute your argument.
  4. Logic is hardly ever persuasive. Avoid giving long chains of reasons. If you do disagree, simply state a single strong reason and leave it there.
  5. Don’t just concede, talk about trading (this applies to children as well – youngsters need to learn that life is about trade-offs and compromise.) Find a way to negotiate and compromise.
  6. Power is a perception. You have to think: “How much power does the person I’m arguing with have?” They may make your life misery for an hour or two, but is it really worth risking never speaking again for the sake of an argument you’re likely to forget by the New Year?
  7. Avoid agreeing on issues one by one. If you have made gradual concessions, you will have nothing left to bargain with.

Amongst all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas period, these tips might just help to bring an argument to a close swiftly, with minimal damage!