Leadership Tip

How to win an argument

There is not much point in having brilliant ideas if we cannot persuade people of their value. Persuasive people win arguments using the force of their reason and by the skillful deployment of many handy techniques. So how to win an argument? Here are some general advice on how to win:

  • Many arguments are made with minimal understanding, or based on false premises. Simply asking for more detail and forcing someone to take you through their thinking step by step can expose this.
  • It’s not enough just to give evidence that something is false. To convince the other party, provide an alternative explanation to fill the gap (barristers do this when they point to an alternative suspect in a trial).
  • If you attack someone’s entire ideology in one discussion, their defences go up. Try to disentangle their various beliefs, or show how changing one might support others.
  • In general, people are much more rational and willing to own up to the limits of their knowledge if they are treated with respect and kindness in an argument.
  • Encourage your opponent to view the argument from another’s perspective – a stranger, or a person from another country if the argument is political. This can make them more receptive to the facts.

The above leadership tip...
was sent in response to a question from a participant on our acclaimed 10/10 leadership development and mentoring programme. Whether you're a first time manager or an experienced leader, straightforward, practical advice on best practice is hard to find. Until now. To find out how you, your team or your organisation can benefit, please join us on our next complimentary webinar or contact us.

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