5 Ways to Win Any Argument
by Ethan Glover, Sat, Sep 16, 2017 - (Edited) Wed, Jan 10, 2018
I have said often that logic is no way to sell someone on your ideas. It is not how you, I or "others" think. If you want to convince someone of your ideas, if you want to win an argument, you have to be able to open them up. I've talked about doing so through deep canvassing. Charlie of Charisma on Command offers another, but complementary perspective with five steps.
1. Redefine what "winning" means. Arguing isn't a game, the goal isn't to make your opponent lose. It isn't to win for yourself. Instead of trying to degrade someone with your "knowledge," tell them what you want them to know.
Communicating what you want from the start, being direct and honest, sets you on a path of mutual understanding. "I think Donald Trump has caused a major tear between people in the United States." Don't beat around the bush. Don't start by asking what they think and telling them they're wrong. Start with your position, and work your way to the middle from there.
2. Listen to what people want. In arguments, it's most common that people want you to understand and appreciate them. So make them feel like you care. Ask questions and remain curious about what they think. This will cause them to give you and your viewpoints the same respect in return.
3. Show that you understand with a statement of empathy. Try restating their position in a way to show that you understand. "I understand that you believe education should be free. You see that there are benefits to both individual happiness and the economy as a whole." Do NOT immediately follow this up with "But..." or "However..." Don't jump at the opportunity to prove them wrong.
Give their position some space and respect. You can ease into your perspective once you've proven that you're not an enemy attacker. "I understand that you believe... [pause] I think there are some issues with making education free..."
4. Recognize their positive intent. Don't assume you're talking to a strawman. Recognize that they don't want to see the world burn, they're not selfish. What they believe is what they think is right. Find what they think is right about it. Recognize the benefits they think their position will provide.
5. Once you've established a connection, once you've both come to understand one another's positions, make your case. Be calm and respectful. Don't let your ego get in the way and don't take anything about the discussion personally. It's just a discussion. At the end, if you feel like you've made your case well, ask them to make a change. "After this, would you consider taking a more accepting approach to gun legalization?" Asking without bullying, without telling them what the "correct" position is, makes it much easier for them to consider making that switch.
The big takeaway here is; when in an argument, ask yourself what do you want, and what do they want? Expressing your goals and find the goals of the other person will put you on mutual ground and give you a direct path to influence.
Full video from Charisma on Command
Learn how to win any political or economic debate from many respected teachers such as Tom Woods, Gerard Casey, and Bob Murphy.