How to Win an Argument

How to Win an Argument

I was sent an email from Kelly B, asking me “How do I win an argument?” I read a bunch of book’s on the subject and this is what I found:

  • Don’t argue
  • Use welcoming body language
  • Get them to like you
  • Listen to their side
  • Avoid saying the word that they dislike. Ex. Abortion, Immigration, etc.
  • Get them to agree they will listen out loud
  • Get them to agree with your core principle out loud
  • Tell them they have crafted your new beliefs
  • List all of the issue’s you agree on and the new one they previously disagreed on

I’ll now look at this subject in detail, or watch the shortened video.

How Not to Argue

When most people are trying to win an argument, they do the following:

  • Tighten up their body language into an aggressive pose
  • Rattle off a bunch of reason’s why they are right
  • Dismiss the other persons point’s
  • Raise their tone of voice
  • Shake their head no and feedback other negative action’s

Ask yourself, would you be willing to discuss an issue with a person that is putting off all this negative energy? If you knew they weren’t listening to you would you bother to listen to them?

It is very important to get the other person to like and respect you first. You have to change the word argument into discussion. You also have to stop thinking about winning and instead strive to come to an amicable decision.

Why Do People Disagree?

Do they Like You?

Very often people disagree, just because they don’t like each other. They may dislike each other personally, or simply dislike people of a certain profession. If you sense they dislike you, then winning the argument is secondary.

You must first, get them to like you. You do this by finding common interest’s and belief’s. People like people, who are like themselves. So, show them how you are similar and win them over that way.

People also like people that like them. In your conversation, find something that you both love! Tell them that you love that also. If you can find anyway to say honestly that you like them, then do that.

Past Experience’s Guide Opinion’s

Ok, I’m going to assume you and the other person have discovered some subject’s that you agree on. Why might they still disagree with you?

We all have belief’s, that have shown over time to be correct. If someone challenge’s those belief’s aggressively we’ll push right back. So, instead you need to let them know you want to hear their side. At the same time you want to set up a situation in which they understand, if you listen to them they’ll hear you out.

Don’t Disagree on Belief’s

If someone is against a word, just shift the conversation towards a word they don’t dislike. Abortion is a good example here. People are either for or against abortion. So, don’t use the word. It’s instead easier to get someone to agree that they are against killing a child, or saving a dieing mother.

Try hard to get the other person to agree with principle’s you agree with. Don’t try to just get them to say I was wrong and I’m now for or against an issue.

How to Get Someone to Listen

People will follow through on statement’s they make out load. It’s known as the consistency principle. If you want to read more about it read my article Theory Negotiation.

So, get them to state out load that they are going to listen. Say, “I normally wouldn’t talk about my belief’s but you are a person that’s willing to listen, am I right?” If they give you a positive response, they will now listen to you.

You then want to look for common ground. I’ve found that people value freedom over all other thing’s. Especially the freedom to do what they want, while not hurting anyone else! If you can somehow latch on to this idea of limiting freedom you may be on to something.

Find the core reason why you believe what you believe and then get the person to admit that that core value is important. I’m trying not to talk about specific issue’s so that more argument’s aren’t started in my comment section:)

Body Language

If your body language also show’s that you are listening you’ll gain an edge. The best position you can take includes:

  • Sitting, with leg’s slightly spread
  • Elbow’s on calf’s as you lean forward
  • Cross finger’s with your palm’s facing down
  • Place head on the top of your hand’s
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Smile

You also want to pay attention to the other persons body language. If they start mirroring your position, they are agreeable to you and like you. If they have:

  • Their arm’s and leg’s crossed
  • Item’s between you and them
  • No eye contact
  • A frown on their face

They are feeling disagreeable toward you. You need to mirror them and then shift back into an agreeable pose and hope they follow. More on body language can be found in my Introduction to NLP article.

How to Win an Argument

Ok, here is our situation:

  • The other person has agreed with you on other subject’s
  • They also have agreed to like certain thing’s about you
  • They have agreed to listen to you out loud
  • Get them to agree your core belief is true out loud
  • Your body language is welcoming

Now it’s listening time:

  • Listen to their idea’s
  • Don’t interrupt them
  • Never disagree at this point
  • Question only for clarity on a subject

Now Win the Argument

You need to now get the person to agree that you are right in the smallest of way’s. Let’s say they are completely against immigration of any kind. Get them to agree to this questioning.

  • “Would you agree that there is one person of value, outside of the United States?”
  • “Do you think the United States would benefit, from having this one person as a citizen?”

Continue slowly building that person towards an understanding of the benefit’s of immigration.

Now you want to provide some additional information that the other person doesn’t know. Give them an opportunity to save face. It’s much easier for a person to say, “With this new information, I now see your point.” Than it is to change an opinion, because they have been called stupid.

Tell Them they Influenced you

After you have followed those step’s tell the other person that you have been influenced by their opinion’s. State those new way’s that you agree, but at the same time interject how you may disagree. Ex: “I agree that unbridled immigration can have dire consequences …, and we both agree that eliminating immigration all together would be a mistake.”

Notice how I used the word “and”! As you are listing your agreement’s and disagreement’s don’t use the word but. But, is a negative word. You should constantly aim to build a positive atmosphere and “but” will disturb that atmosphere.

This is a bit of trickery based off of what is called the Yes-Set. The Yes-Set state’s that if someone say’s yes a certain number of time’s that they will continue to say yes. Here I’m getting them to:

  • Agree with something they definitely agree with
  • Agree with something the pretty much agree with
  • Agree with something they partially agree with
  • Agree with what I want them to agree with

If you separate the first three statement’s with the word and you will dramatically increase your result’s. If you can as well make the other person think they crafted your new belief’s you have won the argument.

That’s All Folk’s

I hope that answered your question Kelly B? If anyone else wants a question answered, leave a comment below. It’s really quite easy to win an argument.

Till Next Time

Think Tank

2 Responses to “How to Win an Argument”

  1. Jacob says:

    You are not answering the question of “How to win an argument” you are just stating how to NOT get into and argument. This is totally out of the point

    • admin says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. The whole goal is to never argue and instead get the person to understand that you both agree on a number of like concepts. This establishes an agreement framework. Once the other person believes that you both are of a like mind, they will actually fight to stay in this state of mind. They will believe it makes sense to agree with you because that act is consistent with how they previously acted.

      The true goal in winning an argument is to establish a consistency principle in the other person that they must follow. That consistency principle would be that you are a person that they agree with. Once that is established they will force themselves to agree with everything else you say.

      I hope that makes sense? I sometimes struggle with finding ways to explain this concept. Sorry if I failed to explain it properly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.