Many times we lose an argument not because we are wrong but because we don’t know how to defend ourselves. In other circumstances, we win not because we are right but because we know the right words to use, when to attack and how to look innocent and pin the other person down. Well, I do that a lot, not that I’m a hater, I call it ‘healthy arguments’! …and I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s just being defensive in nature. With my experience and much research on how people win even the silliest arguments, these are the tips and key points I got.
1. Stay calm and be realistic
Don’t pour out emotions. An example is suggesting that you never even knew there were cookies in the house and you never ate them when you actually escorted your room mate to the shop to buy them immediately weakens your argument and belittles your stand! Avoid over-exaggeration and your argument will gain strength.
2. Get ready with facts
For someone you know quite well, try to pin point their weaknesses. Are they bad at stating facts? Make them. This will put them at the verge of losing.
3. Use meaningless but weightily-sounding words and phrases.
Memorize the list; Let me put it this way, In terms of, Vis-a-vis, Per se, As it were, So to speak. You never win arguments talking like that. This is a quote from a comedian on just how you WILL win if you say: “Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers vis-a-vis Peruvians qua Peruvians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were.” Only a fool would challenge that statement!
4. Know the person you are dealing with.
What is the person’s reaction when faced with a problem? Is he the shock-and-awe kind of person who uses intimidation and scare tactics? What are his peeves and favorites? What is he inclined to protect–his image, job, family, reputation?
5. Deliberately provoke your adversary.
Find something that makes them angry and keep wheedling away on this point until they lose their temper and so the argument.
6. Focus on your opponents’ emotions and concerns.
It is hurtful to try to argue about emotions (“You shouldn’t feel that way”). Trying to talk people out of their feelings isn’t logical; it’s controlling and insensitive.
7. Decide on an emotional aspect of the argument to use as a tool.
If you can find a way to make your opponent to “be in their shoes, then in your shoes”, and try to have them imagine feeling a particular way which benefits your argument, you can squash opponent’s confidence in his/her argument.
8. Let them talk keep talking.
Stuck up and you don’t know just how to defend yourself? Concentrate on listening. People love to get attention. This is a perfect example of the adage, “enough rope to hang himself.” They will eventually say something unreasonable or stupid enough to make you the reasonable one.
9. Distract and make it their idea.
Throw in points which deflect the other person from their main point. Manipulate the points to make it seem whatever you wanted was their idea all along. Just in a different way.
10. Smile when you think you’ve won and remember it’s not a fight
Healthy arguments are never about fights, just a process one goes through to defend oneself and still feel intellectual!
By Sarah Oleng