If you like winning arguments, you’ve come to the right place. Particularly if you like to be right at work. What follows are 3 foolproof techniques for putting the argument to bed and coming away with a lasting sense of satisfaction that you were right all along.
- Prove it. You’re right, they’re wrong. If it’s a matter of fact (which, let’s face it, it usually is) get the evidence together and show them, and all their supporters, that you were right from the start, and that they have suffered a fatal lapse of judgement (again) to your eternal glory. Delivering a crushing proof will relegate your antagonist to the ranks of a deluded has-been and allow you to bask in self-righteousness.
- Raise your voice. This is a time-honoured technique for demonstrating the certitude of your opinion and never fails to win the hour, particularly if you have a volume and aggression advantage over your adversary. Don’t be afraid to really lose it as this demonstrates the validity of your POV and your ability to be ‘real’ and true to yourself. Good to avoid actual physicality here as you could lose the court case.
- Deploy the Whatever word. This is the coup de grâce for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. It combines maximum impact with minimal energy and is the last word in passive-aggressive strategies. For best effect though, it needs to be followed by total disdain and disinterest in whatever follows. Never dilute the power of this word with a final insult or profanity. Get them in first.
So there you have it: 3 ways to demonstrate to the world that you combine the intellect, the self-confidence and the conviction in your beliefs to win the day in any disagreement. You have a moral duty to put people straight so they can benefit from your wisdom.
STOP PRESS: it has come to my attention that some of you out there do not have the self-belief, the stentorian vocal capacity or, strange as it may seem, the desire to win every argument that comes their way. So for these apprentices and aspirants in the art of winning disputes, I have listed some alternative strategies that, I have heard, can at least ‘hold the fort’ for a while until you can hold your own:
Listening – apparently listening to the other person can lessen the unthinkable prospect of losing an argument. I’m told that sometimes people value being heard over being right (sic). Personally, I’d rather use that time for working out what I’m going say next – if I ever get the chance to get a word in.
Challenge the idea, not the person – the thinking behind this is that a person and their idea are distinct and that by focussing on the idea, the discussion becomes far less personal and prone to aggression. And there was me thinking that if they’re stupid enough to think like that, they deserve all the aggression they get! Oh well.
Stay calm and curious – according to my sources, invoking your own natural curiosity helps you stay calm and therefore helps the other person stay calm too. And it helps you appreciate and respect the other person’s viewpoint. Well I suppose if you’re going to lose the argument, which you probably will following this advice, you may as well save your energy for the next one.