Education - April 15, 2023

6 tricks that will help you win any argument

6 tricks that will help you win any argument

Every single person on the face of the planet – every man, woman and child – has tried to win an argument at some point or another. Whether it is in the comments section on Facebook, or in the corridors of government, or at the family dinner table. we’ve all been there. We can’t escape the human urge, need, and—yes—the desire to argue.

But arguing gets a bad rap in itself. It is blamed for everything from political polarization to marital breakdown. In his 1936 classic, how to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie wrote: “I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way under heaven to get the best out of an argument—and that is to avoid it. Avoid it as you would avoid rattlesnakes and earthquakes.

I take up the issue of Carnegie’s conclusion – if he were still alive, perhaps we could debate it.

I don’t like to avoid arguments. I find them Run towards them. In fact, I’ve been debating all my life. First, as a student debater at the Oxford Union, then as a TV pundit in the UK, and now as an anchor and interviewer for MSNBC in the United States. I have debated with presidents, prime ministers and intelligence chiefs around the world. I’ve debated inside the White House; The debate took place inside Number 10 Downing Street; Argued inside the Saudi Embassy.

Here’s what I learned about winning those bouts. Your adversary is not the key; Yours audience is key. They are judge and jury. So here are six of my favorite tried-and-tested ways to win over every listener’s heart—and win every argument.

Focus on feelings, not (just) facts

You’ve often heard the phrase “facts don’t care about your feelings”. But it is not that simple in the heat of debate. Anyone who’s ever tried to change a friend’s mind and got nowhere has learned this all too well. You can have all your facts, an argument that’s impenetrable – and no one makes a dent. People are stubborn, cautious and afraid of change. Sure, the facts may not care about those feelings, but consider this: Our feelings rarely care about the facts.

The truth is that we often feel our way toward a particular situation or attitude rather than think. According to experts, we need that jolt of emotion to get off the fence and make a decision. “Humans are neither thinking machines nor feeling machines,” says acclaimed neuroscientist and brain expert Antonio Damasio, “but rather feeling machines that think.”

One of the best ways to give your audience a jolt of emotion and get them on your side is by telling a story. Humans have long been fascinated by good stories with a solid story arc; One beginning, one middle and one end. The human brain, scientists say, didn’t evolve just to absorb cold hard facts. It’s hard to tell the story.

When you want to win an argument, you are trying to guide your audience to make a decision. You want them to choose you over their competitor. And that choice requires an appeal to feelings and emotions. The heart drives the head. and if it’s the heart Vs Heads up, I promise you, pure logic is going to lose nine times out of ten.

so you don’t have to trust Now On facts and figures but also on good anecdotes and entertaining narratives, to connect with your audience and make your point. Remember: As Wharton Professor of Marketing and Psychology Deborah Small explained to me, stories that are “concrete (rather than abstract), personal and narrative form evoke more emotion.”

Or as Plato is said to have remarked: “Those who tell stories rule society.”

play the ball—and that person

People will often tell you to play ball, No Person Deal with the argument, not the arguer. Don’t go ‘ed home. It’s the only way to win fair and square, they say.

they are wrong.

To quote philosopher Tom Whyman: “If ad hominem arguments are illegitimate, how are they so useful,

How do you think Donald Trump, a reality TV star and failed property developer, beat 16 more qualified and experienced rivals to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2016? It was not through a larger mandate of policy or even by raising more money from them. It mocked and belittled them with insults and nicknames. Remember Lion Ted (Cruise)? Lidl Marco (Rubio)? Crooked Hillary (Clinton)? Trump used profanity in the Oval Office.

You could say that the former president was following in the footsteps of one of the greatest orators of antiquity. The Roman statesman and lawyer, Marcus Tullius Cicero, had a “gift for wit” as a character assassin par excellence, notes author Sam Leith. Words like loaded pistol. He once attacked an opponent as a “monster”, “butcher” and “jellied pig”. They also made fun of his “hairy cheeks”.

Cicero, like Aristotle before him, understood the importance of NatureArgumentation: The way a speaker uses his own credibility, authority, and reputation to strengthen his argument. weaken Nature And you underestimate their ability to make that argument to a neutral audience.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, which labels ad hominem arguments as “logical fallacies”, there is nothing inherently wrong about pointing out that your opponent has a history of lying and cannot be trusted. is (“derogatory” ad hominem); or have a conflict of interest that they are concealing (“circumstantial” ad hominem); or they do not practice what they preach (“tu quoc” ad hominem).

Don’t get me wrong: in a perfect world you would Only Go to the argument itself, its merits and demerits, its pros and cons—not the one who argues behind it. But in our world Real the world is playing ball And The man can prove to be an effective and often necessary strategy. It can discredit your opponent and their argument at the same time. This can win over a skeptical crowd and give you the upper hand.

Therefore, as Whyman notes, “only a fool would dismiss ad hominem arguments.”

make them laugh

British comedian and actor John Cleese once remarked, “If I can make you laugh with me,” you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas.

Laughter isn’t just the best medicine—it’s one of the best ways to win over a crowd and win an argument. Laughter provides “social glue” to your audience. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that shared laughter brings people together—in a way that can help. You as the person making them laugh.

“For people who are laughing together,” says social psychologist and study coauthor Sarah Algo, “shared laughter signals that they see the world the same way, and it momentarily boosts their sense of connection.” Perceived equality becomes an important part of the relationship story.

found it? Make your audience laugh and they will like you, identify with you, and remember what you tell them. Above all, they are much more likely Agree with you.

Strategic use of humor and ridicule can also put your opponent on the defensive. Then again, the ancient Greeks and Romans were way ahead of us. According to Michael Fontaine, Cornell University professor of classics and translator of Cicero’s treatise on comedy, Roman statesmen used jokes as “weapons of war” and as a source of rhetorical power over others. “His enemies said, ‘This guy is a total clown. He’s a clown. He tells jokes, he breaks protocol,’” Fontaine says. “And yet he keeps winning and keeps winning.”

use some judo moves

What can a 140-year-old Japanese martial art have in common with the art of rhetoric and debate? Well, “Judo” itself is derived from a Japanese word meaning “flexible” or “pliable”. To win an argument or gain an edge in an argument, you often have to be both flexible and willing to bend, judo-style. To use your opponent’s energy against them and slam them to the ground. So, sometimes, you have to bow to a debate opponent—not because you’re losing, but because doing so will make you seem more reasonable to the audience and help you win,

Of course, there is an ancient Greek word for this rhetorical technique: synchronicityS. The Collins English Dictionary defines it as “the act or instance of admitting an argument in order to strengthen it”.

You can drop a point here or there to throw your opponent off balance. You can even surprise them by pre-empting their words. You can also rename the argument, the terms Argue your case whenever you get the chance – and when your opponent is least expecting it. These are all figurative judo moves.

To quote Kano Jigoro, the founder of judo: “Resisting a more powerful opponent will result in your defeat, while adjusting to and avoiding your opponent’s attack will throw him off balance, reduce his power, and You’ll beat him.”

come with a ginger or two

George W. Bush once remarked, “Unless there’s a zinger or a cute line or whatever, there’s a quotable moment,” in a sense there’s no winner.

I hate to agree with Dubey. But he does have a point. We’ve all, at one point or another, enjoyed or appreciated a mic drop moment. pithy quip. Calculated clapback. barbed one-liners, or ZingersThis can be one of the most effective ways to undermine both your opponent and, by extension, their argument.

A well-timed, well-planned zinger, in fact, “can be both a thunderbolt to injure the opponent and a shield to block the opponent’s attacks,” writes Chris Lamb in his book. the art of political fallacy, “But, perhaps most importantly, it can establish superiority over an opponent.”

Think of Democrat Lloyd Bentsen addressing Republican Dan Quayle in a 1988 US vice presidential debate: “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was my friend. Senator, you Jack Kennedy is not.


Think of David Cameron addressing Tony Blair at his first Prime Minister’s Questions in 2005: “This is only our first exchange and already the Prime Minister is asking me questions. This approach is stuck in the past. And I want to talk about the future. He was once the future.


look and speak with confidence

Do you want to know how important it is to be confident, or at least Project Confidence, while reasoning? Consider this: In 2009, new scientist Carnegie Mellon professor Don Moore cites research that states “we prefer to seek advice from a trustworthy source, even as we are willing to forgive a poor track record.”

Confidence is what allows you to look someone right in the eye and say, “Sorry, you’re wrong” (even though, in your mind, you suspect they might be right). Confidence is what allows you to stand in front of hundreds, thousands or even millions of people and speak from the heart. Confidence is what lets you fall down in life—and get back up again.

Confidence is not easy. It can be taught and developed; For example, volunteering to speak in front of large crowds. By taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone. By imagining success. I wasn’t born with the confidence to take on presidents and prime ministers on live television; To deliver a speech to an audience of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people. I had to learn confidence; I had to instill that belief in myself.

You have to try and do the same. And if you can’t make it…then Fake This. Make sure you give the impression of confidence in yourself and in your argument. How? Stand up straight and keep your chin up, say body language experts. Do not crouch or jump. Project your voice by speaking from your diaphragm. And always make direct eye contact with the people you want to persuade.

These are all quick fixes to show confidence—and maybe over time Feeling more confident.

So believe in yourself. Dress up with an emotional appeal. Be prepared to play the ball and the person. Use zingers, jokes, and judo moves. and get ready for a rhetorical victory against Any opposite and opposite Any Crowd.

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