Persuade using two-sided refutational messages

persuade others using two-sided refutational messages
persuade others using two-sided refutational messages

Persuade Others Using Two-sided Refutational Messages

Refutational messages: what are they and how to persuade others using two-sided refutational messages? Persuasion is the process of changing minds. Persuasion is an everyday part of human discourse. It is used by salesmen, parents, teachers, and many others – basically all of us. Persuasion in mediation is a two-way street. Long before you try to influence another to moderate their demands or consider the other side’s point of view, chances are good that they will have tried to convince you to their position.

It’s my experience in order to be an effective mediator, I must engage in various forms of persuasion. I do not engage in coercive or manipulative persuasion practices by which pressure brought to bear on reluctant participants to get a settlement. I do use a range of potential mediator interventions to help the parties resolve deeply held or competitively bargained differences. *

Two-side Refutational Messages

The basic concept is to present two sides and reasons one side is more persuasive.
This is reality testing. I do it later in the day or mediation session.

It is a road map for evaluating the case. It is also where I earn my mediator’s fee.
It incorporates both sides with lots of detail. What would happen if you went to court?
What would the court do in the end?

It is by its very nature evaluative. At some point during the mediation session, I am always asked what I think the valuation of the conflict. Putting it another way, who do I think will win in court. I do not do this early in the session because I want the parties to see both sides of the issue and hopefully persuade them as to the just outcome.

While doing it later in the session, it shows both sides that I have listened all day and that I know what each side thinks and what their real needs are to settle the case. Many times, both sides have worked hard to come to an agreement and I do not have to lead them through this process. In the end it is persuasion by reviewing the pros and cons of both sides of the issue

How Does This Work

It is a form of direct persuasion with cogent detailed analysis of both perspectives, and conclusion as to which perspective is stronger. My conclusions do have an impact. As a disinterested third party this is what I think of your case. Naturally, I do couch it in terms of my experience and expertise and that a jury might look at it slightly differently. Faced with a conclusion by some one else is a mind altering event.


1. Messages with explicit overall conclusions are significantly more persuasive than messages without conclusions.
2. Messages with more conclusions and reasoning are significantly more persuasive than messages with generalized conclusions.
3. Two sided messages are more persuasive that one-sided messages

Why they work

Arguments that reveal their sources and are specific are significantly more credible persuasive than their less explicit counterparts.

*Stark, James H. and Frenkel, Douglas N., Changing Minds: The Work of Mediators and Empirical Studies of Persuasion (2013). Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, Vol. 28, No. 2, Pg. 263, 2013; U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-07

**Why the picture of Cross Country runners?  It takes a lot of persuasion to get them to the finish line. 

Ken_Strongman_003sm About the Author: Ken Strongman ( has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.



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