5 Steps To Win Any Argument


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In this article, you’re going to learn how to win an argument and I am a trained logician, philosopher, and in debate but we’re not gonna use any of that stuff because I’ve wasted years of time creating the perfectly logical argument that should win every time and I’ve delivered it to friends and family only to have them reject that argument and then just to feel a little bit worse about me after I tried to stomp them with logic.

If you’re dealing with people you need to consider that there’s a psychological aspect of them opening up, of being receptive to what it is you have to say, and unfortunately in arguments, so many of us forget this; we treat the other person like a robot that we can just throw logic at and of course they’re going to see it our way — that’s not how it works.

So in this article, of course, yes, you’re going to learn how to win an argument but you’re also going to learn how to get what it is that you actually want from the argument.

You’re going to learn how to make it so that the relationship is strengthened after it and not ruined even if you do wind up getting what you want.

How to win any argument is to edefine what winning means
How to win any argument is to edefine what winning means

#1. How to win any argument is to edefine what winning means

So the first thing is this — we want to redefine what winning means because sadly to many of us, what winning an argument means is the other guy losing; we want them to admit that their opinion is wrong, we want the people around who are watching us argue to say, “You have a really good point, man. They’re out of their mind.”

But the truth is, say that you’re arguing about chores and you want the other person to do more chores and everybody at the end of it comes up to you and says, “You were right. They won. They lost.”

Well, guess what? That doesn’t feel very good, one, and two, they’re still not doing what you want them to do which is to help out more around the house.

So redefine what a win is, what is it that you actually want to change from this discussion and I will shift it from an argument to a discussion.

So if you want the person to do chores, okay, start there.

If you’re in a legal or a business setting and you want more money and more favorable contract terms, start there.

Forget sticking it to do them or teaching them a lesson or showing them how silly they are.

When those are your motivators, everybody loses but when you focus on the things that you want, you are much more likely to communicate in a way that gets them.

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How to win any argument is to know what they want
How to win any argument is to know what they want

#2. How to win any argument is to know what they want

The second thing once you know what you want is to know what they want.

And like I said, what people tend to want is not the thing that they’re arguing about.

Yes, they want you to do the dishes but there’s an emotion that is driving them deep down; they want to feel something and I talked about this in a article that we did on Tyrion Lannister how he is so good at driving to what people really want.

The six things that people are always driving towards but for this article in the case of arguments, let me just tell you what people tend to want is to feel appreciated, to feel recognized and to feel understood like you care about their opinion — that is the emotion that drives most arguments so if you listen carefully what they’re saying, you can sense that that’s there and you can do the start-to in your discussion with them; to give that to them, you’re going to come to a solution that works much better for both of you.

Empathizing via statements can help build social skills and mindsets
Empathizing via statements can help build social skills and mindsets

#3. Empathizing via statements can help build social skills and mindsets

The third thing once we understand what it is that they actually want is that we’re going to show them that we know with a statement of empathy; we’re going to say what we understand that they want and so in the case of, say, somebody in your house wants you to do more chores they’ve been on you and you haven’t done the dishes, you might say,

“Look, I know you must feel like I’m not listening because you’ve asked several times for me to do the dishes and I haven’t done them yet and you probably feel like I’m being disrespectful to you because you’ve asked several times and I just haven’t gotten to it…”

This is important — I didn’t follow that up with a but, I didn’t say you’re wrong, I just gave that space to be.

So many people, when they start to do this right, they give this statement of empathy, they show the other person that they understand them, are so quick to follow up to tell them how that perception is wrong.

For just a little bit of time, allow their perspective to existing on its own and once you find that their perspective has space in this discussion, they’re going to start to see things from your angle because as soon as you’re willing to do it for them, they’re gonna come back and say, “Yeah, look. I know you’ve been really busy with school or with work…” and they’re gonna start to take your side and now you’re moving in the right direction.

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So we’ve gotten there we’ve given this statement of honest empathy because we understand what they want.

Aim for self improvement and recognize their positive intent
Aim for self improvement and recognize their positive intent

#4. Aim for self-improvement and recognize their positive intent

The fourth thing is going to be to recognize their positive intent.

So many times and I see this especially in politics when people are arguing with someone, they assume that the other person wants the world to burn.

They assume that the other person is just purely selfish and they want things to be terrible for everyone else.

Try this the next time you find yourself in a political argument — one, get out of it; it’s not useful.

But second, if you’re intent on staying there, say, “Look, I really do understand that deep down, what you want is to vote for the best candidate who’s going to do the best for our country and to make life better for as many people as possible.”

Now, that is a 99.9 percent true statement, right?

Are there people out there that are just voting for selfish interest? Of course.

But most people, at least on a personal level, feel like they are voting for the candidate or supporting the party that is going to do the best job for the country that’s why they vote for them.

And when you demonize them and say, “No, you must want to alienate this group that’s why you’re voting for them,” there becomes no ability to speak to that person so find the positive intent.

In the case of somebody who wants you to do chores or is maybe nagging, you say,

“Look, I know what you want is a fair distribution of chores in the house. I know that you’re not trying to bust my balls here. I know that you just want things to be fair.”

If you do that, you will find that this person at this point is opened up.

You’ve understood them, you’ve seen that behind what might be a bit of a frustrating behavior is truly a positive intent and they are ready now to speak to you and this is the point, finally, step five where that logic stuff can make a little bit of a comeback and this is where you now make your case.

Build your confidence and make your case
Build your confidence and make your case

#5. Build your confidence and make your case

Now typically speaking, when you make your case and you’re talking to a friend or family, you’re going to want to frame it as a suggestion or an ask.

Or other times, in business dealings, we’re going to say, “Look, these are my standards hard and fast; we can’t go below this number,”,”That’s where we are? Absolutely.”

But in the case of friends and family, you just would say, “What would be really helpful and I would appreciate if you did is clean the dishes twice a week to the point where I don’t have to ask you it’s just done in the morning.”

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And the more specific you can be here, the better.

What is awesome about asking people and you lay out all the reasons that you think this is fair and then you ask them is that people hate to feel bullied; they don’t want to feel pressured.

But when you give them the respect of asking which says, “You can say no and I can’t stop you they’re going to be open to saying yes because you’ve shown so much ability to work with them, you’ve put yourself on the same side, and steps one through four.

Now when you ask they’re gonna come through and say, “Yeah, that’s fair. I can do that. I can do the dishes. I can make this change of the contract. I can do with it whatever this thing is for you.”

So I know that I spoke a lot about personal relationships but the truth is business is person-to-person as well. Are there checks and balances? Absolutely.

But if you find yourself in a negotiation for salary, you can still dive in and find what that person wants that isn’t just money.

I had a situation like this myself when I was at my first job.

There was a scenario where I wanted a remote work arrangement and to leave the city and on the surface, that didn’t work for the company because they don’t want that for me.

As we dug in and we found out that they didn’t mind that I left; they just didn’t want to set a standard where everybody got a remote work arrangement so what we came to is that I would be shifted to not an employee but a contractor.

I got what I wanted not everybody got to do the same thing and it worked out for both people.

That’s why this understanding getting to the human aspect is so helpful across the board.

So I hope that you take this if you do find yourself in an argument; take a deep breath and just start by asking yourself

what do I actually want and what do they actually want and that’s gonna put you right back on track.

I hope that you found this helpful; if you did, make sure to bookmark to the website so that you don’t miss more articles like this — we’ve got them every Monday and Thursday.

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I hope that you guys enjoyed this article and I will see you in the next one.

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"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance."