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How Do You Discredit Someone?

Being able to discredit someone is useful even if you aren’t an attorney. You might need to discredit a lie or false story they are telling. You might need to discredit bad evidence that makes people think a certain courses of action is right at work. Maybe you want to prove that someone is lying about you. This article will take strategies and tips from trial lawyers so you can learn how professionals discredit.

Prove A Witness Or Someone Is Lying

Some articles might tell you to watch body language, look at their eyes, and see if a person seems nervous. These things can be tells that someone is lying but they are not reliable methods. Instead the best way to prove a person or witness is lying is to catch them contradicting themselves.

The best way to get someone to contradict themselves is to ask the questions that are non linear and non sequential. This means when you are asking about a story they are telling, don’t let them tell it in sequential order. Jump around. Start at the middle, ask questions about the beginning, and then jump to the end. This will make it harder for them to coherently make up a plausible story if they are lying.

Another way to catch them contradicting themselves is to ask for specific details. This does two things. First it gives you material you can use to show that they contradicted themselves with. Second you can often tell if someone knows what they are talking about based on whether they are able to go into details about the situation.

Remember often the most important thing is the perception that the person is lying, not whether they are lying or not. You can be 100% correct that they are lying but if no one believes you it does no good. This next step can be helpful when you know someone is lying and you know the truth. The next section will show you how to discredit someone at work. You can apply these techniques in any situation where you need a group of people to believe someone is lying.

How To Discredit Someone At Work

While we wrote more about this in detail in our character assassination article, we will cover briefly in this section how groups of people decide whether to believe someone or not. First you must understand that groups have social hierarchies. The people who are higher up in the hierarchy embody the group’s values, or they simply have power and are in a corrupt group. We will assume the first situation. The best way to discredit someone is to figure out how to make them appear contrary to the group’s values, desires, and goals. Make them seem like a member of the out group. Here are some ways to do this.

Firs try creating the image that the person is a member of an out group. This works extremely well if the person is lower down in the group. You are essentially scapegoating them. Start by attributing qualities to them that the out group is known for. Then move to subtly accusing them of being a member of the out group. See the question below on how to attack an expert witness and adapt those tools.

Next attack their credibility, reliability, and competence. These are the core values of most successful groups. Use the questions below to frame the person as lazy, dishonest, and unreliable.

What you have been doing in the last two steps is building up a reason for people to disbelieve a person beyond your argument. You are maximizing your chances of success. This is why attorneys find out about people’s history and past. They use bad history and spotty pasts to make them seem less credible. The final step is to explain how believing the person goes against their self interest. Give them a selfish incentive for disbelief. See our article on the importance of WIIFM.

Questions You Can Use To Undermine Or Discredit Anyone

These questions are geared towards undermining expert witnesses but they can be used to undermine any person’s character or account of a set of events. Remember that solid and exhaustive preparation for asking these questions will help you deliver the most bang for your buck. Think about the person’s main weaknesses and then consider what questions you can use to point those weaknesses out.

See this article for more on what attorneys do when they attack an argument.

  • You’ve lied many times in you life, haven’t you?
  • You’ve never actually been to x or done y, right?
  • The opinion you hold is based on assumptions, right? (all opinions are based on some assumption)
  • You are a professional x, right? So why don’t you have y credential?
  • You were a mediocre student, right?
  • You don’t have any real world experience, do you?
  • Your argument doesn’t take into account x, y, z, does it?
  • You have an impressive memory. Can you remember what the weather was like that day? What were you wearing? If you can’t remember those simple things, why should we believe you remembered x?
  • What is your process for checking if journal articles are valid or spurious? Why don’t you have a process? How can you know your source isn’t bad if you don’t have a process for examining it?
  • What would make your argument stronger?
  • What studies/experts disagree with you?
  • What do you hope to accomplish by making this argument?
  • Is it true that you are trying to convince people X is right? How can we know you aren’t leaving out other facts in order to convince people?
  • Have you ever changed your opinion on a topic before? How do you know this isn’t one you will eventually change?
  • What was happening before you saw x? So you were really stressed and it was dark out before you saw x.
  • You went to jail last year, right?
  • (Switch up the order you present information in.) Describe what happened when your sister showed up. What happened at the beginning of that night? The end?
  • You are a jack of all trades, master of none right?

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