How To Argue Well And Win Debates: 10 Very Useful Strategies

How to argue well

Arguing, that is, defending beliefs or opinions more or less convincingly is, certainly, something common in social interaction.

In all types of contexts and areas, such as the media, scientific forums, conversations with friends or even parliamentary speeches, it is common to generate debates in which reasons are given and asked to defend a specific action. or a certain posture.

That is why it is so important to know how to argue correctly because, in addition to being an everyday action, It is necessary to know how to explain one’s point of view in countless situations in which, if we manage to convince others, it can imply benefits for us.

Let’s look in more depth at the importance of knowing how to argue well, in addition to learning how to do it in the most correct way.

The importance of knowing how to argue

Arguing is a very common action in life in society This type of action takes on a very important role when relating to other people, given that, one could say, every time you talk to someone, at some point or another in the conversation something will be said whose objective is not the of merely informing, but also of making the other person agree with what was said.

For example, being on the street with friends, the question may arise as to which is the best restaurant to go to for dinner. Although this situation may be considered banal, the member of the group who knows how to best explain why they should go to their favorite restaurant can exercise not only the ability to influence the decisions of the rest of their colleagues, but also acquire a role of certain dominance over them. they.

Knowing how to argue well becomes extremely necessary when talking about the world of work and the academic environment. To say that more and more companies and universities value being able to argue as a requirement is lying, because it has practically always been taken as a necessary competence both in the workplace and academically.

For example, a student who carries out research but does not know how to adequately defend it in his or her final degree project runs the risk of getting a bad grade. On the other hand, the car salesman who does not know how to convince the customer to buy the latest car on the market risks losing his job.

But knowing how to argue is not limited only to knowing how to say what you think about a specific topic or exert some type of influence on who you are addressing It is not a merely oral or written task. A person who knows how to argue well is not only a good communicator. It is also one who takes into account the context in which the communicative action takes place, thinks about the level and feelings of the audience with whom he speaks, empathizing to a greater or lesser extent with them. He also takes into account the behavior of other people, whether or not they are opponents in the debate, knowing whether they agree or disagree with what has been said.

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Tips to argue correctly

Once we understand the importance of knowing how to argue well, let’s look at some guidelines that serve to make the argumentative action satisfactory.

1. Prepare well

The ability to know how to argue can be improved through practice, but to do so, It is very necessary to document in depth about the topic you want to talk about

Whatever your opinion regarding the topic of the debate, there is little point in defending it without first having seen the related facts.

Nowadays many people give their opinion without knowing what they are talking about and, although they are convinced that they are right, when they try to argue their beliefs the only thing they end up doing is making themselves ridiculous by demonstrating their complete ignorance on the subject.

Avoiding this error is as simple as going to reliable sources of information that, through objective data, expert opinion and scientific knowledge of the subject, will allow us to make our position more solid.

2. Present the argument

Starting with an explanation that presents what is going to be argued is a very good way to start the debate or speech.

This introduction will include the premise or thesis allowing the public to get a general idea of ​​what is going to be talked about and the position that is going to be defended.

In essence, this introduction summarizes what has been known through the research that has been carried out.

3. Present the evidence from greatest to least solidity

A good strategy to defend one’s point of view is to show the data based on its degree of solidity preferring to go from more to less.

First, we start with the most convincing evidence, with the intention of generating public support for our position from the beginning.

Progressively, the weaker aspects of our point of view are presented, although this is no longer of great importance to the public, since we have already managed to get them to support us.

4. Decide the type of reasoning used

It is very important that, on the path taken to reach the final conclusion during the debate, one chooses the way in which one’s point of view will be rationally defended.

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You can choose deductive reasoning, which starts from generalizations to reach a specific conclusion. Using this type of reasoning, if the premises from which we start are true, then the conclusion would also have to be true. For example:

‘All plants need water. Ficus are plants. Ficuses need water.’

On the other hand, inductive reasoning can also be used, with which we begin with the most specific aspects, reaching a more general conclusion later. For example:

‘María ate chocolate and felt sick. Paula ate chocolate and felt sick. So chocolate will make you feel bad.’

In inductive thinking, if the premises are true, the conclusion may or may not be true This type of reasoning is used in those cases in which predictions rather than arguments are required.

5. Do not repeat yourself more than necessary

There is no better argument for repeating the same thing over and over again nor by extending it with a stream of words that only manages to make the public dizzy.

If the speech or manifesto is excessively long, the chances of making mistakes and getting bored increase.

6. Strive to understand your opponent

If you are in an oral debate or any other type of situation of this type, an effort should be made to try to understand the rival position.

This does not mean that the other’s position should be supported, of course, but Yes, you should try to see the points that have been explained and based on what sources they rely on

Once you understand another’s point of view, it is easier to defend your own position more successfully, especially because you avoid misunderstandings and arguing about aspects that the other side has not really said.

It is very common in debates that situations occur in which, while a person is criticizing what the opponent has explained, the opponent jumps in saying something like ‘I didn’t say that’ and, finally, it turns out that he clearly had not said that. thing, which implies that all the criticism made collapses like a house of cards.

7. Let people talk and admit mistakes

Especially in oral debates, it is very important to let the other side explain themselves, without interrupting them while they do so.

Also, it is very important that, if another side has told a demonstrable and solid truth, it is accepted.

Denying the facts, in addition to being synonymous with lying, can be perceived as stubbornness and can harm rather than benefit one’s position, since it can make the public, upon seeing that one of the data we have presented is false, the rest It also runs the risk of being one and we could be refusing to do so.

Denying the facts when you have seen that they are what they are can be perceived as stubbornness and not accepting reality This harms one’s position, since it can imply that the rest of the data we have obtained could either be false or we have not been able to see what they really were like.

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To make matters worse, the discussion can reach a point where it becomes difficult or impossible to continue, with one side saying something true while the other refuses to believe it.

8. The sense of humor in its right measure

It may seem obvious, but, Although humor can be a good argumentative tool, you must know how to use it at the right moment

Jokes, especially in a relaxed context and when talking about something everyday, are fine. They are not so much so when talking about more serious issues such as climate change, feminism, political prisoners or genocide.

To know if it is really appropriate to make a joke about the topic you are talking about, it is as simple as having a minimum of empathy and putting yourself in the place of the person to whom it is directed or with whom the humor is being made.

9. Avoid ad hominem fallacies

The ad hominem fallacy, Latin for ‘against man’, is a type of (bad) argument used very frequently both in mundane debates and in those that should be at a higher level, such as in politics.

It basically consists of criticizing the opponent for his way of being more than for his arguments or data that you have exposed.

Criticizing the person based on their sex, race, sexual orientation, appearance, among others, instead of giving strength to one’s own arguments, will contribute to the public seeing us as bad losers or people who do not know how to maintain their composure. .

10. Adapt the language to the opponent’s level

If a thorough search for information on the topic to be discussed has been carried out, It is very likely that you will know specialized terms, great reference authors, among other very useful information

However, you should not bombard the person you are addressing the argument with a lot of words in order to make known how much you know about the topic.

This can lead to a series of inconveniences that, of course, do not help in convincing others of our position.

It can be perceived that one takes refuge in having memorized a lot of words without knowing how to use them or relate them to the main objective of the intervention, which is to argue one’s position.

There may also be the feeling that you are going around the bush, getting away from the main point of the debate. You can talk about matters related to the main topic of the debate, but you must take into account what the reference point is.

On the other hand, and to ensure that the opponent understands us clearly, it is appropriate to adapt the language used to his level. Not in a paternalistic act, but rather with the intention that he does not misinterpret what we are telling him or cause misunderstandings to occur.