How To Win Your Argument In 6 Easy Steps
Written by Di MadWriter (Contributor)
I’ve lost a number of arguments, and I’m sure you’d agree with me that it’s a very painful thing to lose. And for someone like me who argues for a living (even though I don’t get paid for it), I cannot bear to have that much pain everyday all year long. So I had to adapt.
The tips I’m about to share with you, I had to figure out myself, mostly the hard way. I can’t remember going through any books or articles on how to argue; I’m guessing that is what they take years to learn in law school (haha). I will promise you one thing though, if you keep these tips in your heart, you can say goodbye to losing and the heartbreaks that come with it.
Don’t Pick An Argument You Can’t Win
This is not as easy as it looks. How do you know that you can win an argument? Considering the facts? Studying the opposition? All of these are important, but the most important factor is you and your emotions.
The thing that works against you the most in an argument is your emotions. If you are sensitive about the topic of the argument, that’s a red flag. You may want to smile your way through that one.
Of course, there are exceptions for important conversations that must be had. In those cases, remember that you’re already handicapped. Tread carefully. And don’t feel too bad if you eventually lose; it happens to the best of us.
In the early stages, speak less and let your opponents do all the talking.
A lot of people prefer to rant than to actually argue, so that makes it pretty easy. They’d want to talk and believe you have nothing to say. Allow them to believe that. Do not push to win too early. Say just enough to keep them trying, and take note of all what they’ve said. Those are your tickets to victory.
Do not lose sight of what the initial debate is.
People are fond of arguing and forgetting what it was that brought about the arguments in the first place. They only become interested in opposing each other. You’d be surprised at how much this happens.
Call them back when they digress, even if you still want to argue the new statement, finish with one first. The topic is like the judge; it declares the results of every argument.
If you’re arguing on the wrong side, get creative. I’ve found myself on the wrong side of arguments a lot of times. This is how I manage to win. In some cases, I throw too much information at the opposition that they don’t even know how to reply.
This does not contradict the second point; you have to assess every situation before picking your cards. When you know that you’re trying to prove an unreasonable point, wait, speak less, and observe the opponents.
If they aren’t very good, they’d probably hand you a gun, or go ahead to shoot themselves in the leg with it. But if they don’t, you must begin to throw out information or find their weaknesses (sensitive points).
Ask a lot of relevant questions.
So do you mean to say that…? How about …? Remember when this happened, what do you have to say about that? This is how you round your opponents to a corner without them knowing it.
They think you’re finally beginning to agree with them, but you’re analyzing their answers and comparing them with all that they’ve said (while they ranted and you listened).
You can almost be sure that they’d contradict themselves. When they do, point it out, and ask the questions again. That puts them on the spot. It’s time for knockout.
Remind them of what the initial debate is.
Follow the tread down to all that they’ve said (highlighting the parts that don’t add up), narrow it all the way down and back to the topic. That is the verdict. If you do this at the right time, you will find your opponents looking for a middle ground to settle. That means you won. Do not try to beat them completely. Remember, you don’t even care about this topic. You’ve got what you wanted, a win.
This thing works, people. And it’s because many people don’t know how to argue yet. When everyone learns to do that, it’d most likely get tougher. But for now, it’s as easy as taking out your garbage.
I once found myself in a debate against my friends who were law students at the time, and I was defending the notion ‘talkatives make the best leaders’. Note, I am the exact opposite of a talkative, and I do not think there’s anything true about that statement, but I made sure to not make it personal.
I presented such a good argument that the judges refused to disclose the results. When my friends suggested that I may have lost, I said: “I don’t even care. I had a shitty topic to defend. And the fact that we’re even asking for results means y’all didn’t do a very good job.” It was glorious.
Now you know about my bad habits. I hope you find something helpful here. If there’s a part of it that you disagree with, please point it out. There’s a great chance that I will not argue with you… or maybe I will. 😀
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