9 Tactics … to win any argument!

Win Any ArgumentDrake Baer wrote an article for the Business Insider entitled, Science says these 9 tactics will help you win any argument. Drake found that the research was science-oriented with tactics that will help you win any argument. Based on his research, he concludes that “arguments aren’t logical. To win them, you have to understand people.”

As I studied this list of nine (9) techniques, I found that five (5) of the techniques resonated with me because I had used them before and still consider them valuable in my “skill set.” If you would like to review the original article, here is the link.

1. Be civil.
Contrary to what your debate coach said, arguments aren’t rational. So respect the other person’s perspective, no matter how ridiculous it sounds. “When people have their self-worth validated in some way, they tend to be more receptive to information that challenges their beliefs,” political psychologist Peter Ditto from the University of California at Irvine tells New York Magazine. With that emotional connection established, you can then start getting logical.

2. Follow up.
Pixar cofounder Ed Catmull knew Steve Jobs for 26 years. They had some arguments. He avoided having shouting arguments with Jobs, instead employing a persistent method: I would say something to him and he would immediately shoot it down because he could think faster than I could … I would then wait a week … I’d call him up and I give my counter argument to what he had said and he’d immediately shoot it down. So I had to wait another week, and sometimes this went on for months. It would resolve in one of three ways: Jobs would admit Catmull was right; Catmull would realize Jobs was right; or Jobs would not respond to Catmull, in effect giving his approval.

3. Ask open-ended questions.
If you’re in a spat with your spouse, couples psychologist John Gottman says to ask questions that allow him or her to open up. Examples include:

How would you change it if you had all the money in the world?
• What do you want your life to be like in three years?
• How do you like your job?

It works in arguments at work, too — open-ended questions help transform competitive interactions into cooperative ones.

4. Use graphs.
A new study from Cornell University researchers Aner Tal and Brian Wansink shows that people trust scientists. Thus, doing things that make you appear scientific — like using a graph — makes you more trustworthy. “The prestige of science appears to grant persuasive power even to such trivial science-related elements as graphs,” Tal and Wansink write.

5. Demonstrate that other people agree.
In “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” Robert Cialdini says “social proof” is one of the best tactics for getting people to see things your way. It exploits the well-documented tendency for people to conform to others’ opinions, even if they’re strange. According to social proof, we assume what other people are doing is the correct behavior in a situation. It is the reason long lines in front of a restaurant make the food inside seem so tantalizing. It is also why having the endorsement of a celebrity — like William Shatner — is such an effective marketing tool.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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