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How to win an argument

Updated on April 24, 2015

Arguments. They form part of our everyday lives, from debating with colleagues at work through to returning to what can seem like ongoing arguments at home on the same topic over, and over and over again. In whichever situation you find yourself however there’s one universal truth and that is that an argument lost, or even an argument not definitively won, can stay with us over the coming days, during which we may get even more riled than when actually arguing.

However beyond being right, there are also some little known hints, tips and tricks that you should be aware of in your quest for worldly rightness.

Essential steps to win an argument

1. Stay cool, calm and collected
Staying cool, calm and collected is the holy grail within the world of arguments and understandably this is one point that proves impossible for many. To this end you should bear in mind that conquering this point will take practice… as well as lots of deep breaths and mental counts to ten.

2. Stick to facts
After the first point sticking to the facts comes in as an almost as difficult point to master, however this will also come far easier if you’re able to stay calm. Never be tempted or drawn into personal insults or topics that are go off track.

3. Ask question, after question, after question
One of the best ways of discovering previously un-obvious weaknesses in your opponent's argument is to ask questions, often you’ll find some point that is at least illogical, and at best contradictory or downright incorrect.

4. Be logical, be a good listener
Being logical isn’t as simplistic as it sounds and is a practice that takes time to master. In the most basic sense you’re trying to ensure that your points of argument follow naturally into one another and as the argument develops you’re also trying to show how in even the most simplistic of ways that your opponent's argument lacks clarity and logic.

5. Be open to a point or two
Whilst you may categorically disagree with your opponent you should remain open to conceding a point or two. This often has the effect of your opponent dropping their guard, which makes for a perfect time to move onto the points in the last section.

6. Know thine enemy
Knowing your opponent is half the battle when trying to win an argument, so think about their weaknesses and capitalise upon them.

7. Consider a win-win to avoid all out war
Sometimes meeting another halfway is the only option to avoid an argument that truly is never ending, so consider agreeing to disagree… and either never speak of it again, or home in your argument skills further to go in for round two.


Vital avoidances to achieve argumental success

1. Don’t get personal or go in for the low blow

Getting personal is a sure fire way to demonstrating a loss of control, which then easily leads to a lost argument.

2. Don’t get distracted

Your opponent may try to distract you by introducing new and nonsensical ideas. Whatever they may bring up that’s off piste shut them down by telling them that it’s a completely separate issue and that you’ll deal with it at a later time.

3. Don’t opt for weaker points over stronger ones

Always focus in on a few strong points and develop them over the course of the argument, rather than using a range of stronger and weaker arguments that only serve to dilute your argument. You should also continually ask for agreement as you run through your points so that you can address smaller issues as you build your case.


Going in for the killer blow: Sneaky last moves to go in for the win

Going in for the killer blow: Sneaky last moves to go in for the win

  1. Land a one-liner that they won’t come back from

When you think that the time is right you should land a punchy one-liner that both proves a point and knocks the confidence of your opponent.

  1. Fluster your opponent through ridiculing their argument

This is perfect for using when debating in front of others, however when arguing one to one it may be of little use.

1. Distract your opponent

Try to throw in a few distractions as the argument progresses to throw the other person off of their stronger topics and points.

2. Exagerate your opponent's argument

Exaggerating your opponent's position can be a good way of highlighting their arguments weaknesses and illogical points.

3. Meretriciously contradict your opponent’s points

With each point that your opponent makes try to hone in on it and contradict it with another that rules their point null and void.

How To Easily Win An Argument, Everytime

Now that you know all of the secret tips and tricks behind winning an argument we’re betting that the ongoing office debates will be a thing of the past after you've flexed some serious debating muscle; and that long over due end to the home bicker? Well it’ll be all yours for the taking.

Just remember however that there’s a defining difference between arguing on a one to one level and arguing in front of an audience where the conversation may take on somewhat of a debate type style. In the latter instance you’re primarily trying to win over the audience (where rhetoric and humour can pay dividends), after which you’ll be focusing upon the opponent.

How to Win an Argument: In Depth


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