Nobody likes to be told they are wrong.
If you’ve ever gotten into an argument with somebody, and you KNEW that you were factually correct, and had PROVEN it during the argument, the other person still won’t likely admit defeat.
I remember once, years ago, I got into an argument with a female colleague in a laboratory where I used to work as a technician. The argument was on some specific procedure, and how to accurately measure something.
I took out a piece of paper, and showed through a diagram and a mathematical proof that I was correct, and she was incorrect. Did she say, “Wow, you’re right and I’m wrong, I apologize.”
Not a chance.
She just glared at me and said, “Are you going to argue with your wife like this?”
The bottom line is that once we stake our ego on a particular position, it’s INCREDIBLY difficult to admit we’re wrong, and the other person is right.
That’s why it’s absolutely CRUCIAL to present your argument in a way that lets the other person save face.
Allowing them to think it was their idea, that they came up on their own, is a great way to do this.
There’s a few ways to do this. One is to tell a story of somebody else in a similar situation, faced with a similar problem, and then made a discovery that allowed them to see things in a new light. If you’re careful, and tell the story in a “I’m not sure if this is relevant or not..” it can do the trick.
Another is to “wonder” out loud, in the direction you’d like them to go. So when they connect the dots, they feel as if THEY are connecting them, and not you.
This gives you the best of both worlds. Allowing you to get your point across, without forcing somebody to be “right” and somebody to be “wrong.”
The one drawback to this method is you’ve got to get your ego out of the equation. This is one of the unintended consequences of covert persuasion.
Because everybody will be convinced that it’s their idea (even though it’s yours) nobody is going to congratulate you on your geniusness.
But you WILL get your point across, in a very sneaky and respectable way.