Argument Structure

In a perfect world, all business communication is well structured and led in a partnership tone: together with your interlocutor you go from the problem to its solution, clearly presenting ideas and negotiating from the perspective of a person who understands the processes in detail and does not shift responsibility.

So, to make this world a little closer to reality, we will instruct you on how to apply the Argument structure. It works with simple entities and leads the narrative from point to point. It's often used in business correspondence.

1st structure: issue — reason — solution — consequences

To make good logical connections, first formulate the issue and analyze its causes. Think about how you can influence them and what the consequences will be. The following guiding questions will help you:

  • What is the issue I am trying to solve?
  • What is the cause of the issue? Where did it come from?
  • What solution would I propose?
  • What consequences would it possibly lead to?

By the way, people are very often focused only on the positive consequences of the proposed solution. But if you highlight also the negative sides (e.g. reputational risks or high financial costs), the communication becomes larger and more honest. The partners get a complete picture to make a well-informed decision and another reason to trust you along with it.

2nd structure: issue — development — reason — solution — consequences — alternatives

As you can see, two additional points appear in this structure: the development of the issue and alternative solutions. It is important to talk about the issue development when the problem is unstable – for example, there is a growing negative trend (the unemployment rates won't stop increasing year by year; or the amount of non-recyclable waste in the country is growing steadily).

As for the alternatives, they are used to make the story richer as well as to highlight the pros of the proposed solution. Here you can reveal the reason why this particular path is chosen, (what makes it better – it’s more economical, ethical, environmentally friendly etc.) and why the other options are weaker.

Structure doesn't mean a set of blocks to be highlighted and revealed in a conversation. It's the logical connections that help to build a coherent picture.

Argument structure is not the best option to follow when the communication has a large number of components that need to be grouped together on various grounds. Using it in such cases might result into breaking up the logic of the narrative, and depriving your presentation of consistency and coherence.

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