How do I know anything about winning arguments? Let me count the ways (If you saw the slight pun I did there, comment and let me know that you are my soul mate) –
One, I am a law student. Two, I am the middle child who is always up for a good fight with my siblings (Spoiler Alert: I lose the physical fight that ensues in the aftermath). Third, I live with two cats, one of them an absolute sweetheart and the other a feisty little fluff ball, who is always snarling at me (Note: I also lose the fights with my cat so I know both the sides of the story.) Fourth, did I tell you I am a law student?
Anyway, so you see that I do love me a good fight and over the years of observing and reading extensively on the great debaters of our time, I have found some tools that will help you turn every single argument in your favour and mind you, these will not be your usual yada-yada.
But before I hand you the tools, here is the basic mindset you should have –
- Respect your opponent, which means name calling and swearing is out of question.
- Know that you are not there to fight, you are there to engage and test your idea against the other person
- Always use a soft and slow tone with well timed pauses to maintain the peaceful atmosphere
- Believe in your stance and come prepared to blow their minds. (Get your statistics game on!)
- Know that changing your opinion and agreeing with the other side doesn’t diminish you, rather it makes you the larger person and shows your maturity.
Now, that we have got the basics out of the way, these three tools will help you win any argument and will almost always let you leave the room with more friends than you entered the room with.
- Go small
- When I say go small in your argument I mean to say that you need to make your points more relatable and put them in contrast to day-to-day happenings.
- The issue may be global, but in order to drive home your point you need to illustrate it with something your opponent/audience is familiar with.
- If you are talking about climate change, you can put the idea in contrast to say, an aquarium or a small village.
- The goal of your arguments should NOT be to make the other side feel inferior, it should be to help them understand why your point is more logical and for this you should do upward inflection
- Upward inflection essentially is the way to deflecting a particular person’s idea to a larger idea, thereby disconnecting the other side with their points and making it less personal, which results in zero clash of egos as now both of you have realized that you are debating ideas and are not the arch-nemesis of the other party.
- Be the question box
- As mentioned before, there are no right or wrong sides in an argument, only differing point of views. So, always make a genuine attempt in good faith to understand the other side by asking questions – How they got to the conclusion they have? Why do they believe it? Etc.
- And after understanding their point of view you can poke at the inconsistencies in their belief (in a respectful manner)
Here we are! These three tools will transform your argument to agreement and for a better understanding you can watch these tools at play being used by most of the world leaders, empire builders, strategians in their speeches (Some of my favourite examples include – Sadhguru, Trevor Noah, Ben Sharpiro etc.)
So, win that debate, dear!