Rhetological Fallacies

appeal-to-noveltyAs you may know, I’m a big fan of the infographics movement. There isn’t a solution sales campaign that cannot be distinguished by use of their approach. Top of the tree is David McCandless.

One of his recent posts attempted to draw attention to what he judges as rhetological fallacies;

The word ‘rhetological’ is made up. Just so I can munge two types of entity: rhetorical techniques and logical fallacies.

Both are used heavily by institutional powers – governments, religions, political parties, across the entire spectrum to sway opinion, confuse and obfuscate. And, unfortunately, we internalise them, like bad habits, into our own decision-making and mental processes.

He draws up six categories.

  • appeal to the mind
  • appeal to the emotions
  • faulty deduction
  • garbled cause and effect
  • manipulating content
  • on the attack

Just one of the 55 cases is shown above.

What I like about them, is that many of them can crop up in our daily selling. I lean towards thinking they occur predominantly as traps. Set by either competition or a prospect not on our side.

When you hear one of them emerge, I suspect remembering a cheeky graphic like this could help you counter the hurdle in a subtle way.

In addition, I deliberately chose the new product angle at the top as that is how so many people think they should sell their latest offering.

It is Not.

The worse call to arms you can deliver is, ‘you gotta take this ‘cos it’s the latest, innit’, or some such similar rubbish.

To avoid falling into that particular fallacy’s pit, you still need compelling reasons that show the improvement.

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