In the chaotic and stressful world in which we live in, there is often conflict as we battle against one another to make our mark or try and prove ourselves to the world.
As a result, arguments or overheated discussions often occur that can leave us feeling angry or upset for many hours, days or even weeks afterwards.
But wouldn’t it be amazing if you knew how to win all your arguments? If you could get people to back down and back off? Wouldn’t it be a great feeling to get your opinion across and gain the respect of others rather than letting them get to you?
Well, today I would like to share with you my tips on how I have managed to avoid losing an argument now for the last 24 years.
Yes…I am not kidding. 24 years!!
You know how I have managed to do that?
It’s very simple….
I DON’T ARGUE!
As Bruce Lee called it, “the art of fighting without fighting”. And this is the only way you will ever win an argument and get people to understand your point of view.
Here are my 6 tips on how to really win an argument…..
1 – Don’t Get Angry!
When a person becomes angry, the emotional part of the brain called the limbic system takes over and any rational thought processes are replaced by emotional, irrational outbursts. This is what we experience during the fight or flight response when we need to protect ourselves and the mind goes into defensive mode. When your limbic system takes over, it only sees things in black and white, in other words, “I am right, you are wrong”.
You cannot rationalise with people when they are in this state of mind and trying to force your opinions on them is like showing a red rag to a bull! So don’t even try and get people to think rationally when they are angry.
If you or the other person have lost their temper, move onto the next point:
2 – Calm Down.
Not only do you have to calm down, but you have to get the other person to calm down too.
In order to do this, STOP SPEAKING and let the other person speak/shout/scream first. Do not react, do not say anything. Just wait, calmly, patiently and quietly until they have said everything they have had to say. Do not interrupt them.
When they have finished, when they have run out of steam, then you can speak.
If they interrupt you when you are trying to speak, do not try and talk over them. Remain calm and when they stop, say to them calmly “As I was saying…..” and continue to present your side of the case.
Remain patient, calm and polite but at all times.
3 – Understand The Problem
The first thing you must do is make sure you are clear as to what the root cause of the problem is. Be careful not to blame or insult the other person, but ask them calmly for clarification of the details. When you think you understand what they said, repeat the facts back to them so that you know you understand them correctly.
For example, “So, let me make sure I understand you correctly. You are angry with me because I left the office early last night and I didn’t complete the assignment that you think is due into today. As a result, you had to stay late and cover for me and that is why you are angry with me. Is that correct?”
4 – State Your Case
If you can see that there has been a misunderstanding which is usually the case 90% of the time, then say calmly and clearly, “I can understand why you thought that way. However, the reason why I made that decision/acted in that way was that……“ and state the facts and reasoning for your action.
5 – Be Compassionate
If the other person is wrong, do not belittle or humiliate them. The best way to do this is saying something like, “Yes, I understand why you are angry and if I were you I would feel exactly the same way. However, double check that assignment as I am fairly sure that it doesn’t have to be completed until next Tuesday”.
If they apologise, do not make an issue of it. Brush it off politely and forget about it. We all mess up sometimes and if you make a drama about it, they will do the same to you if you make a mistake.
6 – If you are wrong, admit it.
Is the person justified in the argument? Did you do something wrong? If you did, admit it and apologize. This takes great courage, but can often diffuse and argument immediately and you will gain great respect from other people for doing so. Don’t fight your corner just to save face if you know you are wrong, because this will just escalate and the other person will not respect or trust you in the future.
Winning an argument means a win/win scenario for both of you, not just one of you. It means that the problem has been resolved and both parties walk away on friendly terms and respecting one another.
Never let your ego take over and try to get one up on the other person! That one-upmanship means that either you have caused a person to lose face or vice versa and this will only lead to difficulties in the future.
Life is stressful enough, so don’t invite it into your backyard! If you want to have a happy life, free from stress, always put yourself in the other person’s shoes and treat them the way you would like to be treated; with kindness, honesty and respect.