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How to Win Arguments – Associated Content from Yahoo! –

December 21, 2010

Persuasive debaters can win arguments using the force of their reason and by the skilful deployment of many handy techniques. Here are some general dos and don’ts to help you win arguments together with some sneaky
tactics to be aware of.


1. Stay calm. Even if you get passionate about your point you must stay cool and in command of your emotions. If you lose your temper – you lose.

2. Use facts as evidence for your position. Facts are hard to refute so gather some pertinent data before the argument starts. Surveys, statistics, quotes from relevant people and results are useful arguments to deploy in support of your case.

3. Ask questions. If you can ask the right questions you can stay in control of the discussion and make your opponent scramble for answers. You can ask questions that challenge his point, ‘What evidence do you have for that claim?’ You can ask hypothetical questions that extrapolate a trend and give your opponent a difficulty, ‘What would happen if every nation did that?’ Another useful type of question is one that calmly provokes your foe, ‘What is it about this that makes you so angry?’

4. Use logic. Show how one idea follows another. Demonstrate that your reasons lead to your conclusions. Build your case logically. By the same token look for inconsistencies in your opponent’s arguments and use logic to undermine his or her position. If for example they argue that people are overweight because they watch too much television point out that they have not proved a link. Challenge their assumptions and for each of their reasons be ready to ask whether it is relevant, adequate, necessary or sufficient to support the conclusion they draw.

5. Appeal to higher values. As well as logic you can use a little emotion by appealing to worthy motives that are hard to disagree with, ‘Shouldn’t we all be working to make the world better and safer for our children?’

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