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How to Win an Argument, According to Science

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/298574

entrepreneur.com

How to Win an Argument, According to Science
2 min read Whether you're right or wrong, winning an argument can be a challenge. Luckily, with a few simple tricks, you can learn how to debate like a pro. For starters, rather than coming off aggressively, start a conversation.

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Ask for their point of view

To gain trust and build rapport, you need to hear out what the other person thinks without interrupting or disagreeing.

Try asking open-ended questions, like: "Why do you think that?"

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Mirror your opponent

If you mimic your opponent (in a subtle way), they are more likely to believe you.

For example, if they are sitting cross-legged, wait a few seconds and cross your legs too. And make sure that what you are doing is not too obvious.

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Make direct eye contact

...while you listen. This makes the speaker's arguments less persuasive, which makes your opinion look strong.

Fix the speaker in your sight as soon as they start speaking.

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Reiterate what you understand

Repeating an argument back to the speaker can develop trust by proving that you're listening.

Try paraphrasing what you understand, using: " so you're suggesting ... because... ?"

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How to present your point of view

How to present your point of view
  • Know your facts thoroughly
  • Use scientific-looking visuals (elements that people associate with science, like formula or graphs).
  • Demonstrate that other people agree.
  • Using phrases that indicate a degree of uncertainty makes you seem more interesting interested in finding the truth than in winning arguments.
  • End your sentences with verbal affirmations (e.g." isn't it?").
  • Lower the pitch of your voice. It improves your powers of persuasion.

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How to get agreement

  1. Instead of attacking someone's ideas, try taking your opponent's basic beliefs and developing them into an absurd conclusion.
  2. Flag your opponent's' dangerous beliefs.  It may have a positive effect on neutralizing your opponent.
  3. Identify the shared ground between you and give genuine praise.

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Pitfalls to avoid

  • Watch your posture. The most effective one is with your feet together and palms down or letting them move with the words.
  • Don't get nasty. Validate your opponent's self-worth by being nice to them so they will be more receptive.
  • Avoid using too many facts. People think emotionally, so moral intuitions often weight stronger than factual accuracy.

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Convince Them With Confidence

  • Speak confidently, be concise, and try not to repeat yourself. 
  • Give the appearance that you truly know what’s right from the beginning, even if you don’t have all o...

Avoid Common Argument Fallacies

Winning an argument often comes down to who can go the longest without contradicting themselves and keeping sound logic, not direct persuasion of the other party.

Anecdotal Fallacy

Using a single personal experience as the foundation of your argument or your big piece of evidence. 

For example, your phone may have broken right after you bought it, but you can’t use that to argue that those phones are not worth the purchase for others.

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Win the black belt in political argument

  • People think emotionally, so forget facts
  • When people are asked to explain their beliefs about how a given thing works, they’ll actually become less confident...

Know your facts

How many times have you made a claim about some piece of trivia only to realize, as soon as you’ve made that claim, that you’re completely wrong?

Stop and think before you make such errors, and y...

Switch perspectives

Stepping into the mindset of those you argue with allows you to figure out what’s influencing them. 

Showing empathy will lower the temperature of the debate and allow both of you to come to a resolution.

Try to appear open-minded

If you appear to be giving the other side’s position a thoughtful review, then the solution you propose will seem to be far more sensible. Furthermore, your opponent may come to your side without you having to do anything other than listening.