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Use of image, competence and presentation


Wrecking an International Project: Notes from a saboteurs vade mecum (Part #6)


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  1. Criticize the proposers as incompetent or ill-informed.
  2. Assert that the person or organization is not representative or qualified.
  3. Condemn proposal as irresponsible "just when we were beginning to sort things out".
  4. Discredit the proposer by locating "true facts" about him which are irrelevant to what is proposed.
  5. Structure the setting in which the proposal is presented such that the proposer appears to be criticizing past actions (or reactions) of his audience, or appears to be wasting time on the need for niggling minor improvements.
  6. Ensure that the critical presentation is made in a setting in which (irrelevant) characteristics of the proposer will antagonize the audience (e.g., presented by a person of Jewish extraction to an audience with Arab sympathies, by a Hindu to a loyal Moslem audience, by a woman to an audience from anti-feminist cultures).
  7. Ask for a written report when the proposers are unlikely to be able to structure it according to the required style, but avoid it if the written report is liable to be too well prepared and convincing.
  8. Ensure that the proposers do not get the opportunity to present the project to an audience if they have skilled and persuasive orators at their disposal; alternatively, ask for such a presentation if they have little experience of oral presentation.
  9. Ensure that, when tile proposers have assembled a team prepared to argue all the facts, the audience is composed of persons liable to be antagonized by eggheads. Alternatively, assemble an audience of tough (hostile) experts when the proposers are only prepared for a non-expert audience.
  10. Encourage written submission of the project in the form of a stencilled document when an offset or printed (professional) document is normal. alternatively, encourage submission of a deluxe document when the latter is liable to excite suspicion.