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Eight Ways to Win an Argument

Eight Ways to Win an Argument

People argue all the time and you may think that, it is the people who are most aggressive or loudest who win most of the time especially if they are wrong. Winning, is not the matter of being the loudest or the most aggressive but being clever and diplomatic and giving it back to your opponents without he/she realizing it.


Here are EIGHT tips to navigate you through different tough argument situations:

1) Re-Word
Re-word the opponent’s logic in such a manner that it is most favourable to your point of view. For example, if your opponent says that you should not increase the price as the distributor will not like it. You can start by saying that, “You mean to say that I am the distributor’s enemy and do not take into account their welfare………” exaggerate and misstate your statements and then in the mock hurt tone say that “That’s not what I said at all…putting the dealer in defensive”.

2) Categories the argument to an unpopular category
If you categorize the opponent’s argument in an unpopular category it is associated with all the negative emotions. For example if somebody is arguing that you should increase the price as the cost input has risen, you can counter by saying that it is like reverting to the cost plus margin approach of the license-raj period. This way the audience will start visualizing the negativity of license raj and associate it with the opponent’s point of view.

3) Liken the idea to something which has been tried and has been a failure
For example, if your opponent is advocating reducing the price to gain market share, tell him/her that the same strategy adopted by Coke/Pepsi by reducing the price to Rs. 5/- had not worked and had also affected adversely their bottom line.

4) Ask for proof
Most of the fast and furious opponents try to pull a fast one by misstating or twisting the facts. Ask for proof; there is a 50 % chance that your opponent has twisted it to his/her advantage and if it so, he/she will lose all credibility. If the facts are found to be true then he/she will not gain anything and you will appear as a diligent person.

5) Agree in principal but discuss the details
Agreeing in principle is a very clever stalling technique and is used quite often with people where sensitivities are involved, for example, if you cannot openly disagree with an important client or a senior person you can state that you agree in principle. The person will be elated getting the impression that you have agreed with him/her but the matter will remain unresolved as the specifics have not been discussed or agreed upon.

6) Interrupt
This is a not- so – becoming technique but very commonly used in today’s fiercely competitive world. This one is especially effective specially if your opponent has a much stronger case.

7) Admit nothing
Generally, at the start of the argument some basic assumptions are taken. Do not accept and challenge them. For example if your opponents starts saying that in this recession times we should increase the market spend rather than cutting it; challenge the basic assumptions saying that I do not agree that there is a recession… The opponent will get distracted and instead of arguing his main point of view will spend his/her energy in proving there is a recession.

8) Appeals to other in the room
Bring in the third person specially the person who is favourable to you. This will help in depersonalizing the discussion and distracting your opponent. You can start by mentioning that let us hear what Ram has to say about this.

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