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ARTICLES
10 Steps for Winning Every Argument

1. Shift into Neutral: Before you ever open your mouth to deal with them, deal with yourself first. Stabilize your emotions. Tell yourself:"I'm in control" or "Calm down", or "I know what is really true". They can't argue without a partner. Don't play their game. Get a handle on you and you automatically handle the situation.

2. Make Winning Unimportant: This is not the Redskins and the Cowboys. There is no marching band at half time. If you don't decide to stop the play it will continue and continue. The more you dig your heels in, the more they do and the farther you get from a solution. Give up having to be on top and watch them back off.

3. Turn Statements into Questions: Find out what their reasoning is for their position. In your own mind separate how much is logical and how much is emotional( You don't need to necessarily point it out to them, but it will help to keep you neutral). Do it in such a way that is genuinely inquisitive such as "What experience has brought you to this conclusion?" as opposed to "Why did you do it like that?" When you ask questions it puts them in the position of authority and gives them a feeling of power. You are in fact in control because when you guide the situation you dictate its outcome.

4. Be Solution Driven: In an argument situation most people are "right" driven. In other words they are more interested in having their position be heard, than they are in moving toward a conclusion. If you can make the solution more important than your position, then you have an opportunity to move beyond the argument and on to something that works!

5. Take Five: In moments of high emotion we tend to think faster and say things that we might not ordinarily if given a moment to ponder. Give yourself that break in the midst of the conversation. Some people think that not speaking is a sign of weakness, that you have been rendered speechless, but it is actually a sign of strength. Use that time to really think about what you are going to say and its impact on the direction of the conversation and you!

6. Get Some Air: Send oxygen to your brain. Along with pausing goes the importance of breathing. In stressful situations most of us forget to breathe. Remembering this facilitates our ability to respond sagely and to continue to be in control no matter what.

7. Listen Actively: Don't just wait for your turn to talk. What is this person saying? Take notes if necessary. Listen with your eyes as well. What is their body language revealing about their state? How can you address their concerns, which they may be indirectly revealing to you? Seek first to understand others and then to be understood.

8. Call Your Own Number: Know your real objective. Look at why it is so important for your opinion to be acknowledged or acted upon. What is it you really want? Ask yourself what the outcome of "being wrong" or "losing" is? What are you in fact winning? Are you looking for a short term victory or long-term defeat? What impact will it have on future relations? As you interact look at what you are saying and how you are saying it. What emotion do you want to have and how can you produce it now?

9. Let them be right: Even if you know you are, give them the idea that it doesn't matter. When people think that they have been acknowledged for being right, their need to prove how right they are diminishes. You can say " You may be right", or "That's possible" and then introduce a question like "What do you think about..." as a way of bringing your idea forward without demanding that they listen to it. This way you create an opening and an invitation for them to listen.

10. Let Go: Detach from not only having to be right, but from the outcome of the argument as well. If you still lose it, it's okay, slow down, take stock, learn your lessons and move on. Don't be hard on yourself. Nobody's perfect. These moments give us the opportunity for learning about how we are under pressure, what's important, and how we can create ourselves to be. Use it to your advantage and you will win every argument, those with others, and even those with ourselves!
Pivotal Point Training & Consulting Inc • (301) 984-7818 • E-mail Us
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