The Secret To Winning ANY Argument, According To Science

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It's super effective!

Is there anything more infuriating than not being able to persuade someone else to see things your way? Do you find yourself losing argument after argument even though you know that you're right? Thankfully for folks like us, researchers have found the secret to winning arguments.

What is the secret to winning arguments?

Empathy.

Researchers from the University of Toronto found that most people don't know how to appeal to other people's values. The secret to winning people over, they found, is basing arguments on their opponent's principles instead of their own.

For example, if you're an American liberal trying to convince a conservative to support universal healthcare, you could say that having more uninsured people could lead to more disease. If you're a conservative trying to convince a liberal to support higher military spending, you could present an argument saying that military jobs can reduce inequality.

Instead of attacking a person and their morals, find common ground. How do you do this?

Here are some practical tips from the Power of Positivity:

1. Listen to the other person first

The Secret To Winning ANY Argument, According To Science

Instead of shutting down the other person, have your opponent explain their side first. Don't assume that you understand the logic behind their decisions. Ask them open-ended questions to see where they're coming from. Listen to them closely, and they'll be more likely to listen to you when you present your argument.

2. Repeat their argument

The Secret To Winning ANY Argument, According To Science

Before presenting your rebuttal, paraphrase their argument to prove that you were listening to them closely instead of just waiting for your turn. Don't exaggerate your opponent's position and make it sound ridiculous. Yes, you might succeed in making them look stupid, but you definitely won't be winning them over this way.

Repeating their points will make them feel listened to and respected. You'll be fostering feelings of trust, helping you be more persuasive.

3. Look for common ground

The Secret To Winning ANY Argument, According To Science

Try to find points that you agree on and acknowledge these. This will encourage and affirm them, making them less defensive as you present your side.

4. Get them to agree with you

The Secret To Winning ANY Argument, According To Science

When you give your counter-argument, end your statements with questions like "...isn't that right?" or "...don't you think so?" This will help your opponent listen closely to what you're saying and agree to your points.

5. Don't lose your temper

The Secret To Winning ANY Argument, According To Science

Don't raise your voice, don't get personal, don't ridicule your opponent. Don't get overemotional — stay calm instead of risking antagonizing your opponent.

6. Know your facts

The Secret To Winning ANY Argument, According To Science

If you don't know what you're talking about, it'll only take a little poking and prodding from an intelligent opponent to see cracks in your argument. You should be able to expand on your points and explain your argument before you even engage with anybody.

 

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