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How to Win an Argument, According to Science

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How to Win an Argument, According to Science

How to Win an Argument, According to Science

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

entrepreneur.com

7

Key Ideas

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?"

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.

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.

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... ?"

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.

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.

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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  • 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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  • 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.

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Straw man arguments

A straw man argument is a misrepresentation of an opinion or viewpoint, designed to be as easy as possible to contradict.

The only purpose is for it to be easy to expose. I...

Hollow man arguments

This is a weak case (similar to the Straw man arguments) attributed to a non-existent group: Someone will fabricate a viewpoint that is easy to contradict, then claim it was made by a group they disagree with. Arguing against an opponent which doesn’t exist is a pretty easy way to win any debate.

People who use hollow man arguments will often use vague, non-specific language without explicitly giving any sources or stating who their opponent is.

Iron man argument

It is designed to be resistant to attacks by a defier.There arguments are difficult to avoid because they have a lot of overlap with legitimate debate techniques.

A person using an iron man argument will most likely make their own viewpoint so vague that nothing anyone says about it can weaken it. They’ll use jargon and imprecise terms. This means they can claim anyone who disagrees didn’t understand them, or they’ll rephrase their argument multiple times.

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The odds of winning an argument require more than just logic and rationality, as there are a lot of other factors involved.

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Understanding Frames

Frames, with respect to a discussion or argument, are different categories to 'slot' an idea or topic, just like a car can be evaluated by its color, price, or model number.

Change the Frame

During the course of an argument, to increase compliance towards your belief, you can change the framing of the existing belief of the listener.

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Handling People
  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. People learn faster and retain knowledge more effectively when rewarded for good behavior than punished for bad behavior.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation. The only way to get a person to do anything is by giving them what they want.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want. The only way to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
Appreciation and flattery
  • Flattery is selfish and insincere. It’s cheap praise. You tell the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.
  • Appreciation is unselfish and sincere. It happens when we stop thinking about ourselves and begin to think of the other person’s good points.

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Raising Your Voice
When the conversation gets heated, we tend to raise our voices and talk faster. This is a dangerous path because now the ability of both sides to change their minds is close to zero. We dig even deeper into our initial positions and beliefs and no matter how good an argument is, it is not going to be received by the other side.

You can sense this happening when people rush to talk over one another.

Releasing Tension
  • Slowing things down: take a deep breath before speaking, to create a pause, to reduce the tension and to open up the other person to your position.
  • Inflections: upward inflections are good for de-escalating conflict because they show you are not there to control and command.
  • The ability to crack a joke and the ability to take a joke and laugh make you more persuasive, give the impression of being on the same side and release the tension.

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The best body language for influence depends on your goal. Make sure your body language matches your words to make you more effective.

  • If you want to increase the attractiveness of an offer, think sales-y. Use animated movements. Lean forward. Move and speak quickly.
  • If you want to reduce resistance to what you're saying, think calm and authoritative. Specific gestures. Lean back. Move and speak slowly. 
Looking Like A Leader

It is important to balance the appearance of authority and warmth.

  • You show authority and power by your upright posture, your command of physical space, purposeful stride, a firm handshake, and palm-down gestures.
  • You communicate warmth nonverbally with open body postures, palm-up hand gestures, full-frontal body orientation, positive eye contact, synchronized movements, nods, head tilts, and smiles.

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Wake up early

People who wake up early are able to be more proactive and take charge of their life.

Waking up early will leave you with ample time to prepare for your day ahead and take advantage of healthy morning routines.

Follow the 52-17 rule

Our brains need regular breaks to keep functioning at a high capacity.

A glut of research shows that you should take breaks when you can to reap benefits and avoid burnout. The average time to work productively is 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes of rest.

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Validate Their Feelings

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Look At It As A Conversation

Go back to the concept of talking with someone rather than talking to someone.

It can help keep the other person cool, which pretty much always means you've won the argument.

Make It All About Them
We naturally approach the world from our own points of view,

The key to successful persuasion is to show how and why something matters in relation to that person's life and experience.

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