“A weak argument generally dilutes a strong one.” Neil Rackham
What’s wrong with these arguments?
Husband — I think the time is right for us to buy a new car. The model we want is on sale this month, we have the money set aside to pay cash, we’ll save money on car repairs, and a new car will make our garage look better.
Employee — We shouldn’t include this product in our catalog. It doesn’t meet our standard of quality, our profit margin would be small, and Christmas is on a Monday this year.
Bob — I don’t like Picasso’s art. It’s very abstract and I prefer realistic art. That’s why most people don’t enjoy his art.
In each instance, the speaker is building a solid argument but then sabotages it by unnecessarily adding an incredulous point. Each speaker should have left off the final phrase. If I heard these statements I would be compelled to comment on the confusing and faulty last statements. These obviously uninformed final phrases would even cause me to question the integrity of the entire argument as well as the thinking ability of the speaker.
I hear this mistake made often. Someone begins to construct a reasonable proposition but then, in an attempt to further strengthen his case, adds on weak, even indefensible points that dilute the argument and may cause people to totally dismiss the proposition.
When making a case, or just expressing an opinion, limit your supporting evidence to solid, rational statements. Don’t add feeble, irrelevant, or questionable statements because instead of strengthening your position, they weaken it.
What do you think?