Archive for Don Schindler

Lose the Argument, Win The Cause.

Cows Fighting

Cow Fight via Extra Zebra on Flickr Creative Commons

For a long time, I’ve been struggling with the ability to tell others why they shouldn’t argue with others especially on the internet. I’m not saying to turn the other cheek and run away – what I was trying to say is that it’s not worth the time and energy to argue with someone. It’s better to agree with them and then redirect to what you want them to do. But people I spoke with just didn’t get it. Obviously, these people aren’t dumb – I was just doing a horrible job of explaining what I meant.

Then I came across these posts from John Carlton. I’ve been following John since I had heard an interview with him on (I believe) the Copyblogger podcast. John did a great interview of how he came into the copy writing world and he’s produced some amazing results for his clients so when it comes to knowing what he’s talking about, I trust him.

Anyway, I digest. Here’s his steps for Winning an argument – you can find them all here on his blog or the comments on his facebook. I’m not going to copy his stuff word for word – you should go read it. But I am going to give it my spin for the world of dairy farming.

How to win an argument

Step 1: Never argue back, when your goal is persuasion.

This is probably the toughest thing to do. We are definitely hardwired to defend our positions and strike out when we feel our views are threatened.

But the important thing here (especially online) is that this is a losing proposition. No one will win here – what will happen is that everyone will see the shouting match going on back and forth until it escalates into name calling. I’m sure you’ve seen this hundreds of times on facebook, twitter, youtube, etc… It’s even worse when people’s identities are anonymous.

I love what John says here about how their minds will change –

They WILL change their minds, but not because you demolished their belief system with crap like logic and debate moves. They will change because of an internal epiphany that is akin to death/rebirth.

So the main lesson is here “don’t fight back” unless you just want the adrenaline rush and don’t care if this person will hate both you and your cause.

Step 2: Define what “win” means to you.

This is a big boy/girl step and it’s not quite as hard as the first step. What are you trying to accomplish and why in the world did you engage this person in the first place. You need to answer this. If there is really no larger goal in mind, then step away. You aren’t going to convince them of anything anyway.

In social media/digital world, there are considerations here. You are probably arguing in front of an audience. Both theirs and yours. So you really need to think about that. I would also say that don’t consider email a private place. I’ve seen many people say things in email that got transferred (copy paste) directly into the lime light. So always be careful in digital.

If I engage someone with an opposing viewpoint, I want to persuade them into doing something that is a “win” for me (even if it looks like I got my butt kicked in the argument). Let me give you an example. At a previous job, I was constantly bickering with a dept over their approvals of tools I needed for my team. After a few backroom arguments (which I believed I won but in reality didn’t get us any closer to getting the tools), I decided to change my tactics. My goal was getting the tools and not winning the arguments. So my new tactic was to (which is the next step) to agree with them and redirect to what I wanted.

I’ll explain what happened after the next step from John.

Step 3: Use “yes, and” to reframe for the “win”.

This is what John says about the last step in winning an argument. He’s written a lot more here so go read the rest of it but here’s what he says.

You disarm anger, reframe the context (so you’re not wallowing in the stuck-in-one-place psychological wastelands that stubborn people like to fight in), and “come in through a side door” (as old school salesmen like to say).

You don’t engage head-on, you ignore irrationality, and because you’re so clear on your goal, you take your ego out of it. Use the old improv theater tactic of never being negative yourself — say ‘Yes… AND…’ while moving things toward the discussion you actually want to have.

This is so, so important. You win because you reframed the argument and you get what you want. Remember if there is nothing I really want from the person then don’t argue. But this person has something you want (influence, budget, tools, etc…) then you need to persuade and you persuade by not arguing.

So here’s what happened in the example. Instead of arguing, I started agree with the other dept. “Yes, I agree these tools are a bit out of range for our normal budget and yes, the security is questionable. Yes, I agree with your points. I understand you have a class on the dangers of these tools. How about my guys all attend these classes, become experts and advocates about how you feel about these tools and will be someone you can rely on to back you up if other people want these types of tools. But they really need to have access to these tools so they can become the experts on which ones work and which ones don’t. The dept head thought about it and gave us the access we needed.” Now this is just a paraphrasing of everything that went down but it worked.

Now, do I do this all the time? Nope. Do I still argue? Yep.

Because I’m human and I don’t always control my emotions as well as I should. But I do want you to understand that arguing passionately very rarely convinces anyone but the people that already agree with you that you are doing the right thing. You can see the polarization in many things like politics, religion, music, etc…

But if you really want to persuade someone than I suggest you use John’s steps above. And, of course, if you want to argue against me, feel free. I’m up for it. “Yes, I agree with you…AND”

What do you think about winning an argument?

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Directing Your Digital Identity

Admit it, you do it. Your friends do it. Probably most people you know do it.

Google Search for Don Schindler

My Google Search

You google yourself. You know, to see what comes up.

Sometimes when you do this, you find out there are a lot of people with your same name – there’s a “Don Schindler” that coaches women’s basketball in Wisconsin. He pops up in my Google Alerts (if you don’t have these set up, you should. Google simply emails you when they find something new about you on the internet.) a lot during their tournament time.

You might be very happy with what pops up on Google about you. Maybe you have some great photos out there, your facebook profile or twitter. Or maybe you are not so happy. Maybe there’s not much about you at all out there or maybe nothing about you (that would be hard to believe since the internet has been gobbling information about you and everything around you since it came into being). Or maybe it’s worse. Maybe there are things you don’t want people to see at all. That’s not a good thing.

But this is Google, right? You can’t really control what Google does about your online information. Or can you?

Well, I’m a big believer in feeding Google the information that I want Google to have about me. This way if people are searching for me – they find what I would really like them to find.

First, you need to do a good search on yourself or your farm. You’ll need to log out of your browser and you need to clear the browser’s cache because it is tracking your movement on the internet and it will bring up stuff that it thinks you need. Then do a search.

What comes up? Is it your facebook page? A mention in the local newspaper? Your website? Is everything up there what you would want to be seen if someone else was searching for you?

What if nothing was really coming up on you?

Feeding the Google machine about yourself isn’t that hard. You are probably doing it already via Facebook. The only problem is that a lot of what happens in Facebook, stays in Facebook.  The good thing is that Facebook is going to be opening itself up for search with the all new Facebook Graph Search.

If you want Google to find you, then you need to branch out into things google can see like:

  • A blog or website: I know having a website can be burden but you actually own the property compared to just “renting” space on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.
  • Linkedin: Linkedin is a powerful connection tool with over 200 million members but it’s benefits are also in search where it almost always displays for people’s names.
  • Twitter: Twitter is an easy way to put out content and have Google index it (it won’t get every tweet but index your name).
  • Instagram, Flickr, YouTube:Photo and video social networks work great for indexing your name to content that you are putting up.NOTE – get good photos of you on the internet associated to your name. It’s as simple as renaming your best photos don-schindler.jpg and putting them up on a website or blog.
  • Use your name with industry specific websites. Stop using thecooldude2012 as a username and just use your name like donschindler. If you are doing bad things and you don’t want people to know it’s you, then stay off the internet. They will find you.
  • Commenting: I like to think of commenting as a way to let people know who you are and to lead them back to where you live on internet (your blog or website or facebook page). The more comments you leave on other websites, the more people will get to know you.

I also have a slideshare deck on personal branding if you care to check it out – it has more insights (for a six hour class) but not a lot of text.

What tips do you have for getting Google to index you correctly?


Before recently becoming the SVP of Digital Initiatives for Dairy Management, Inc., Don Schindler was the managing director for University Communications at the University of Notre Dame. He managed the award-winning departments of print, web and multimedia.

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