17 April 2012
how to: win an argument
Improve your strike rate and take heed of these essential tips that are sure to help you steer your way towards a win.
If Charlie Sheen has taught us anything, it’s that ‘winning’ is the ultimate victory. Nobody likes to lose an argument but because you won’t always win an argument on your facts alone, here we present the essential guide that will arm you with an arsenal of tricks to ensure you hold court against even the toughest of opponents.
1. The first and foremost rule to win an argument is to never lose your temper. If you lose your cool, you relinquish control and give your opponent an unnecessary edge. Losing your temper can also cite provocation from your opponent such as, ‘you’re emotional’, ‘calm down’ or the all time, most infuriating, ‘take a breath…lady’. Take heed of this advice, take a breath, and calm down.
2. Be prepared to concede that you won’t win every point. The moment you realise that you don’t need to ‘win’ every detail will ensure you reach the goal post – winning the war. Conceding points gives your opponent a false sense of security. Their guard goes down whilst you prepare for the winning goal.
3. Latin is your friend. Make use of Latin abbreviations such as e.g., i.e. and Q.E.D. In argument terms, these are all short for ‘I’m educated, you’re not.’
4. Never, under any circumstance, get personal. Attacking your opponent’s weight, mother, dog or neighbourhood, will only ensure that your points (of which, some may be valid) will almost definitely not be heard. You want your opponent to like you, at least just a little, so that the thought of conceding, and ultimately giving you what you want, is plausible.
5. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted. Whilst they may allude to some shoddy behaviour of yours from the past, keep them on task, and gently remind them that ‘it’s not the issue at hand’.
6. Whilst you are avoiding distraction, make every attempt to distract your opponent. The more you can keep them off task, the more they move away and forget what their point was in the first place.
7. Firing back confident but irrelevant clichés can sometimes work to throw your opponent off course. We suggest you memorize the following one-liners: That begs the question, that is beside the point, you’re being defensive, don’t compare apples and oranges, what are your parameters?
8. A similar tactic can be applied with the use of superfluous but weighty-sounding phrases. Take note of: Let me put it this way, Vis-à-vis, Per se, So to speak.
9. When your opponent is at the height of their attack, look over their shoulder as if you have seen something. Not only will this break their rhythm, when they realise there is nothing there, it will incite fury and they will lose their cool – thus, enabling you to win the argument.
If all else fails, then we suggest you just try say it like the masters:
“The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin’, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.” – Jules (Samuel L Jackson) Pulp Fiction.
“If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.” Jules (Samuel L Jackson) Pulp Fiction
“Saturday, Donny, is Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. That means that I don’t work, I don’t drive a car, I don’t fucking ride in a car, I don’t handle money, I don’t turn on the oven, and I sure as shit *don’t fucking roll*!” –Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) The Big Lebowski
“I’m bi-winning, I win here, I win there.” – Charlie Sheen, being Charlie Sheen.
“The Italians have a saying: ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer, and although they’ve never won a war or mass-produced a decent car, in this area they are correct.” – Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) 30 Rock.Image credit: The Big Lebowski