September 1, 2008
Lesson 1 of 5
I’m having technical difficulties with the webcam.
First things first. This needs to be addressed. I made a post a little while back about China. This was in response to their Olympic fakery. I said fuck ’em. This got plenty of views..and only one comment. The comment reads as follows:
“Now I am not gonna offend you, but go fuck yourself and die in a fire you fucking hypocrite”
This was posted by a something whose email is email@example.com..
Mr. Something has a very strong opinion about China apparently. I started to think of reasons why this might be. First I thought maybe he is Chinese. But this can’t be it, because I didn’t say fuck the Chinese. I said fuck the nation of China. So then I think maybe he lives in China. But China has such strong restrictions on the Internet that I highly doubt he could even reach a page that says “Fuck China.” So then I remember one more thing that I said in the post. I called Yao Ming a bitch. Could Mr. Something be Yao Ming?! Wait, no. Yao was in China at the time. Well then why is this guy so angry? I settled on the fact that he probably wants some of those shoes with the wheels on them and his mother won’t buy them and so he’s taking out his frustration on me.
Here’s the thing..I’m entitled to my opinion and he’s entitled to his. I’m not arguing that. And, no, I was not offended by his comment. I was only offended by the fact that he chose to make the comment as an anonymous bitch. So I will respectfully decline the offer to die in a fire.
Moving on..what I’m here for is this. It’s back to school season so I figure I’ll kick some knowledge this week. Like it or not.
Today’s lesson: How to Win an Argument (10 tips from a Champion)
1. Argue with logic, not emotion
This is key. Arguing with emotion can do two negative things. It can prevent you from thinking with a clear enough head to successfully argue your point. Also, it can lead to you saying things that you don’t mean. This will damage your credibility and lead to you losing future arguments. This is not to say that you can’t win an argument using emotion. You can in a couple of instances. If you are arguing with someone who is also emotional, it will just turn into a screamfest and you can possibly win. Also, if you are arguing with someone who isn’t in it for the win, they may just give up when you start to cry or yell. In general though, arguing with logic is the way to go.
2. Don’t use extreme words
Stay away from words like always, never, nobody, every time, etc. Instead use words like often, several, rarely, few, etc. These words will offer you the wiggle room needed so that you don’t back yourself into a corner. Using the extreme words allows your opponent to find that one exception, damaging your credibility. Leave yourself the out, trust me.
3. Be sure
I can’t stress this enough. If you use something in an argument, be sure of it! Even if you think it’s a killer point, don’t even think about mentioning it if you’re not 1000% positive. They might not even call you out on it right then, but even if it comes up later, you’re sunk. Just don’t even say it. You’re going to look like a fool.
4. Be specific
What I mean by this is narrowing down the scope of the argument. If you’re talking about a specific incident or a specific person, say so. This can alleviate confusion. If you’re arguing with someone and you’re talking about one particular weekend and they think you’re talking about every weekend, you’re not even on the same page and the argument is going to go nowhere. Also, this prevents the opponent from bringing up things to sidetrack the argument. If you can keep the discussion on a narrow track, winning will be a lot easier. Trust me.
5. Use examples
This is a critical part of an airtight argument. Especially important if you’re the one starting the argument. If you’re picking the fight, bring examples with you. Using examples to back up your argument is a fundamental part of the process. For instance, if you approach your friend and say “I think you take advantage of me,” all the person has to say is “No I don’t.” and then you’re like “..ok.” No good. Instead, say “I feel that on this incident, and this occasion, and this day you did this, that, and the other thing and these are the reasons that I feel taken advantage of.” This forces your friend to explain each of these scenarios and to actually try to argue your point. The examples place your argument on a solid foundation.
6. Utilize pauses
Don’t let the pauses in an argument just be idle time. If you’re waiting on the other person to respond, use that time to your advantage. Review and reflect on the things that have been said, but even more importantly is using these gaps to anticipate what might be said next. Preplanning responses based on what the other person might say is a valuable tool. This will keep you one step ahead of your opponent and keep them off balance, which can help you take the win. Everybody doesn’t know about this one, so use it strategically.
7. Utilize resources
It amazes me how few people will utilize their resources in an argument. Listen closely..it is not an intelligence test. It is not about who knows more. It is about who can successfully present their case and argue their way to victory. If you’re having an argument online, by all means use Google, IMDB, Wikipedia, etc. There is no shame in this. Know your information is correct. The tools are all there for you to use. If you are arguing about the Red Wings being a better hockey team than the Avalanche, look up the stats to back up your point of view. This isn’t the SAT. It’s allowed. Call someone. Ask the people around you. Just make sure you’re asking someone reliable. Point is, nobody knows everything. You can win an argument even if you don’t know all the facts or you’re unprepared. Just know where to look and don’t be afraid to do so.
8. Let the person speak
Letting your opponent speak is not only courteous, but also key to a smooth argument. Let them get out everything that they have. Then they can’t complain later that they weren’t given a fair chance to present their perspective. Also, if you’re polite enough to let them speak, hopefully they will do the same for you.
A personal favorite of mine. Quote, quote, quote. Use your opponent’s words in the argument. Oftentimes people will say things in the moment that they don’t mean. But you are supposed to assume that everything they are saying is genuine and sincere. Therefore, it is absolutely fair play to use their own words. They can’t deny these things. They will try to say they meant something else or the context was different, but they can’t deny that they actually said those words. This is an extremely effective device and in the right hands, it’s a knockout punch.
10. Be consistent
Last, but definitely not least is consistency. This is how you maintain your credibility from argument to argument. When you make your case, stand by your position. Do not sway or flip-flop. When you appear wishy-washy, you will lose credibility and this dooms your chances of becoming successful. Don’t back down. Don’t cave. Repeat things, and hammer them into your opponent’s brain as indisputable fact. Constistency shows confidence and lets your opponent know that you believe in what you’re saying.
There it is. My toolbox. I can’t guarantee that you won’t lose some. I can, however, guarantee that you’ll be a lot more successful by following these tips. Successful, perhaps, to the point where people won’t even want to get into it with you. Who wants to fight with someone who beats them up all the time, right?
Stay tuned for more lessons this week. Oh, and Mr. Something’s mom..if you’re reading this, please buy little homie some Heelies. He’s stressed out.