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The Best Way to Win a (Professional) Argument

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time – the The Book of Answers: 105 Career Critical Situations – and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.

A busy professional has this question regarding winning an argument.

She asked:

What are the best arguing tips so you can get your point across
successfully and win any argument?

1. What are some arguing tips so you can make your point and win
any argument? Please explain why each tip works.

2. Why is it so important to argue successfully and in a healthy

3. What’s the number one arguing tip to avoid?

In my opinion, it’s very difficult to argue and keep things professional. The word “arguing” often implies anger and frustration. Therefore, I recommend changing your focus from “arguing” to problem solving.

So, let’s take each point separately.

Arguing tips so you can make your point and win

Best tip is to decide what your goal is and what “winning” means. If your goal to "win an argument", what does that look like? Does that mean you have successfully force your “opponent” to cave?

Or is the purpose of your discussion is to solve a problem?

If you are arguing for argument sake, then sometimes it is a good release or venting technique. Have your fun debate, have a lively exchange of opinions, release your endorphins, and (when done) agree to disagree.

Goal orientated arguments

But if there is an actual goal to the discussion, stay focused on the goal.

1. Outline what each person wants to accomplish.

2. Find the common thread in each person’s goal.

3. If there isn’t a common thread, the list the imperatives or minimum requirements of each person’s goal.

4. Work together to find a solution that appeases or accomplishes the minimum.

By changing the focus and terminology from an "argument" to a "solution based discussion", it becomes a win/win for everyone involved.

If the argument becomes a heated discussion of opinions, then recognizing that everyone is entitled to their own opinion avoids problems. Just be okay with "agreeing to disagree".

Why is it so important to argue successfully and in a healthy

I am not convinced that it is "important to argue successfully". As mentioned before, "argue" often implies anger. When you are in an argument, you are stuck in a situation or standoff. You are not moving forward. You are as steadfast in your vision as your opponent is fixated in his. Everyone becomes immovable obsessed with their own point of view. Therefore, the most successful argument is one that doesn’t occur.

Rather, it is important to be able to convey important aspects of your proposals or solutions. The goal is just to accurately explain your viewpoint and then be open to the other person’s ideas. Then, using what you have learned (from listening to the other person), incorporate their viewpoints into an even better solution. The two continues in this manner until a successful solution is agreed upon.

Debating various solutions or opinions allows people to consider alternative viewpoints, which leads to better solutions or experiences that one would not have experienced if left to merely his own thoughts.

In this situation, the definition of a "successful debate" isn’t that the other person was proven wrong (or you were declared as "right"). A successful debate is that each side discovered and learned something either interesting or important; that allowed each side to receive data that enabled them to get "unstuck" and is one step closer to their goals.

What’s the number one arguing tip to avoid?

Here are the top 3:

1. Don’t get personal.

2. Don’t assume and have your facts straight.

3. Don’t judge other people’s motives for their debate.

Each person has different pasts and experiences. Their opinions make sense to them because of what they have gone through. Acknowledging their right to have their own opinions and experiences goes a long way to avoiding an argument.

Tip to avoid an argument

One last tip is something to avoid an argument. If you preface your opinions with, "it has been by experience xxxxxx". Or "when this happened to me, I did yyyy and the result was ….", you avoid negative feelings. It is hard for people to argue with something that actually happened to you.

Hope this helps a little.

I know your situation is different. If you would like additional information on this topic, please contact LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info

I am a business coach and this is what I do professionally. It’s easy to sign up for a complementary one-on-one coaching call, just use this link https://www.timetrade.com/book/WFSFQ

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.