Know your facts
Stick to what you are certain is true. How many times have you made a claim about something only to realize later that you’re wrong? False information or even just stretching the truth will devalue your argument. If you stop and think before you make any bloopers, you’ll be more likely to win.
If you lose your temper, you’ll antagonize your opponent and the whole process will get overheated. You won’t seem weak by staying calm. Instead, you will gain points by showing that you can exercise self-control. Regardless of how the other person is behaving, you will always have the upper hand if you keep your emotions at bay, as your mind will be clear to recollect the information you need when you need it.
Be prepared to see your opponent’s perspective
In order to win an argument, you must be able to see the world through the other person’s eyes. Understanding their mindset lets you figure out what’s influencing them, and by showing empathy you can lower the temperature of the debate and appear in control.
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Make an occasional concession
Knowing what points you can concede without damaging your stance is one of the great arts of winning an argument. Otherwise, you will come across as unreasonable and intransigent. By compromising on certain points, you offer the other person a degree of leverage, which shows that you are listening to them.
Stick to the argument
Don’t allow the other person to change the subject of the argument for no apparent reason. The more you move away from it, the more likely that the initial argument doesn’t get resolved at all. In fact, you may find yourself amidst several arguments at once, as they keep morphing from one subject to the next.
Hit your headlines
When you have good and irrefutable points to make, don’t be afraid to keep making them. By constant reinforcement, they will ultimately be too strong to defeat.
Paint a clear and vivid picture
The analogy is a powerful and persuasive tool for bringing an important point home, as long as you use it sparingly and are well-armed to defend the validity of the ones you use.
Find out what to do when friends let you down
Never resort to name-calling
Even if provoked, don’t respond with abuse, because that will only give the impression that you have run out of ways to defend your view. Rather than attacking your opponent personally, stick to poking holes in their arguments. And if they resort to personal insults in an attempt to escape the real debate, it means you are close to victory.
Be physically confident
Image is crucial. The more poised you are, the better you will do. Someone who is physically confident in posture, gestures and movement will appear stronger than a person whose body language conveys weakness or doubt. So keep your head up and back straight, keep your hands still and in front of you, and give yourself space between you and your opponent.
Know when to be silent
After making a strong argument, let your opponent do all the talking, especially if they lack the facts to oppose you. They will bluster and fumble, looking increasingly desperate and making you appear all the more convincing. Many an argument has been won by not arguing at all.
For our great article on how to make up with family or friends after an argument, see the March issue of Saga Magazine.
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