Alternative reasoning is an art.
When you don’t want to disclose your opinion on a matter, when you want to balance arguments or when you are trying to elude a question.
Let’s take this popular interview question as an example to see how we can balance our arguments.
Would you rather work independently or in a team?
- Having said that: I prefer working independently in order to meet my deadlines. Having said that, I enjoy collaborating in a group to spark fresh new ideas.
- However: I am a team player however I do not need regular contact with my team members.
- At the same time: In my opinion, a good engineer needs some space for their thoughts. At the same time, it is nice to have team meetings and to talk to colleagues on a regular basis.
- Though: I like the social aspect of going to work though working in a busy office can imply many distractions.
The bridging technique allows you to move the conversation from an off-topic or negative question back onto a topic you feel comfortable with.
When learning the art of bridging, the ABCD method can be useful:
A: Acknowledge the question. You heard the question and will answer it to the best of your abilities.
B: Bridge. You subtly signal you are about to change the scope of your answer.
C: Control or Contribute. It focuses on the topic that you most want to communicate.
D: Dangle. You throw in a new subject in the answer. The goal is that your interlocutor will recognise the salience and ask a follow-up question enabling you to say more.
Red herrings: they come in handy as we can use them to dodge difficult questions in a discussion or an argument. We do it by referring to a different issue, which of course is irrelevant, to sidetrack from the original issue under discussion.