Tips to win a debate or argument: Part 2

Clarifying your position.

In part one of this X part series Tips to win a debate or argument: Part 1I discussed ways to trip up your opponents argumentative statements. Seeking the definitive and absolute statements made by your opponent is a means of dislodging their argument.

Firstly, do not make this same mistake yourself. Clarify as specifically as possible what your point of view is, and do so at consistent frequencies. Provide the reason as to why you have come to your conclusion while you are provided it, for example

Based on my interactions with numerous British people, of those that I met almost all of them loved to watch or play football. While this does not suggest that all the British love football, it does support the idea that it has some degree of popularity in England at least.

Notice that the statement is difficult to argue against, because while it does draw a larger general point, it does so in a way that does not contain absolute or extreme statements. In looking at this statement, the only weakness I can foresee is if your opponent were to argue against the definition of British and English citizens, which is a whole other thing.

Secondly, wherever possible try to quote or reference real sources for your information. While it may be apparent that your point is obvious (I mean after all, how could you be wrong?) it is certainly helpful to have an actual scholarly source to support it. Talking about physics? Reference Einstein. Arguing over flat earth theory? Reference prominent scientists and potentially suggest some of the better quality you-tube videos the refute it. Discussing politics? No help here, so much of it is bias and subjective.

If possible, try to avoid phrasings or word usage that carry heavy cultural connotative meaning. While it may be culturally apparent to you what it means when you say “It was like killing two birds with one stone”, the sentiment may be lost on those with a different cultural background, and they may be wondering why your chasing down birds with a bloody stone in hand.

Finally, if you are arguing over something you have no idea about, let your opponent lead and find cracks in their statements. Become a stickler for the details, semantics are your ally and your crutch and without them your words have no meaning.


Edward Leeming 07/01/2018



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