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How To Win An Argument Without Losing Your Cool

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Having grown up with two younger siblings, I’m all too aware that not all arguments can run their course without someone losing their cool. That said, one of the best ways to win an argument is to remain calm and collected, while the other person fumbles for points and progress.

Jon Capistrano of XEN Life has written a great piece that’ll give you some insight into how to win arguments without losing yourself in the heat:

The art of winning an argument without losing your cool, your beliefs and yourself.

There are wars, battles, bar fights, cat fights, fist fights and brawls that happen because of unresolved or heated arguments. When diplomacy fails and one party loses its cool during a debate or argument, it will surely result in a fight or battle. Emotions are high, egos are at the forefront and no one is conceding on the arguments that are laid out on the table. Unresolved arguments can severe good relationships, friendship and ties to other people. Arguments should not always lead to fights, broken noses or a scratched face. Honestly, it’s very hard to contain your emotions during an argument. However, it will not resolve anything. There are ways of winning arguments without raising your voice or losing your cool.

 “ Never get angry. Never make a threat. Reason with people.”

“Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgement.”

– Don Vito Corleone from the Mario Puzo novel, The Godfather

 This is diplomacy and yet a strategic advantage in winning arguments and making your so called “enemies” realize that they are on the losing side. The high ranking Chinese military general, tactician and strategist Sun Tzu wrote the ancient Chinese treatise called “The Art of War” composing 13 chapters each devoted to one aspect of warfare. This book has been a huge influence on Western and Eastern military strategy, thinking and tactics. The principles in the 13 chapters have also been applied in legal strategy, business tactics, and in everyday life.

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“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

“To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence;

Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.”

– Sun Tzu

These wise words can also be applied in strategizing and winning arguments. Whether we like it or not, arguments are a part of life. It can happen at home or at work and are often ego driven and useless. We all know that the best way to win an argument is to avoid it totally, but if you make a habit of avoiding all arguments, you may be perceived as a weakling that doesn’t have the balls to stand up for what you believe in. You don’t want this to happen to you. Choose your fights wisely, just like like Sun Tzu’s third principle as mentioned above, “He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.” If you cannot avoid confrontation or an argument, you have to make sure that you can win it without losing your cool and not going for personal attacks.

The Definition of Argument

An argument is an exchange of opposite views that commonly happen in a heated or angry talk. It can also be described as a reason or set of reasons that are given that aims at persuading others that an action or an idea is either right or wrong. An argument can also be an avenue of ideas where different ideologies merge together to form a bond between opposing views.

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10 Tips On Going For An Argument Win

Below are some of the best tips given by expert debaters on how to win an argument and get your point across without losing your temper and damaging any relationships, either at work, home or your love life.

1. Start off pleasantly

It is a know fact that most arguments start when someone asks for something from the other. It can be a friend who wants his other friends to share his beliefs or a manager asking his subordinate to do certain tasks in a very specific way. Again, most arguments start when someone asks someone for something. When you do it in a very friendly manner, you are disarming the other person from refusing or making an argument out of it. It will also keep them from going for a defensive stance or position. Be gracious and cordial in asking a favor, the other person will be hard pressed in making any excuses, arguments or using aggressiveness.

2. Base your arguments on facts

One of the worst things that you can do during an argument is to base your conversation on your feelings alone. Displaying emotion is essential in getting your message across but should not be used as the primary weapon in winning an argument. Stick to the facts and try to control your emotions.

3. Respect the opinions of the other side

Not all people will have the same opinions and beliefs. Don’t ever look down on someone with an opposing belief or opinion. Do not accuse the other person that they are wrong, even if you know that they are. Remember, you don’t know everything. If you don’t have anything good or valid to say, just don’t say it. Express your side or disagreement in a subtle way. This way, it will make your opinion diverge from their opinion.

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4. It does not hurt to admit your mistakes

If in the middle of the argument you realized that you are wrong, don’t waste time and acknowledge your mistakes. People specially the other side will take you more seriously in future arguments or conversations. It is also an honorable thing to do and people will be able to relate to your modest gesture. People will respect you and they may be even be persuaded to take your side because everybody likes a humble person. 

5. Exercise self control

Maintaining your self control and focus will swing the odds in your favor, especially if the argument or the debate is like a fire out of control. Try not to lose your cool. The whole point of having an argument is to to prove your point with finesse and tact. Losing control of your temper in a heated argument will quickly turn into a deadly war of words that can lead to personal attacks and physical altercation. It is ugly.

6. Try to have your adversary agree with you

It is very important to have your adversary agree with you and say yes, as soon as possible, no matter how trivial the subject is or no matter what the statement is all about. The goal here is to make the other person think of you as the enemy. You must make them realize and agree with you and jump to your court. By doing this you will introduce the idea that you two are on the same level and are like-minded.

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7. Ignore statements that have no merit

People raise their voice during an argument because they want you to hear them. Try to give your attention even if some of them will say that may get under your skin. You don not have to respond to everything that they throw at you. By not responding and keeping your calm, you will show people that you have control of yourself and this won’t be swayed by name calling or shouting.

8. Always keep an open mind during arguments

As mentioned earlier, you have to understand that different people will have different opinions.  You should make an effort in understanding these attitudes. Have the sincerity to understand the situation according to your adversary’s point of view. Be open minded, it may also benefit your cause.

9. Give your adversary the time to talk

Try to listen to your opponent when in an argument. This way you can get points on where to make a valid attack on their argument. The more they talk, the more loopholes will be laid on the argument table. So shut up, listen, get your facts straight and then move in for the finishing kill.

10. Play Up Your Arguments

Throw in facts and figures to validate your argument. Put up solid examples to solidify your point and if you can prove your idea scientifically, no one will try to contest your arguments and hostilities will go down unless the other side is one hard headed and stubborn person. As every G.I. Joe ending goes, knowing is half the battle.

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These are the best ways of convincing someone that your ideas and ways of thinking is the best course of action in an argument. If you know you are right, you have to fight for it, no matter what. You don’t have to go down to your opponents level if his weapons are fabrications, accusations and deceptions. Use these tips, keep your cool, win an argument and come out on top. Read the “Art of War” or “The Godfather” to broaden your understanding of winning an argument. And if you still can’t win an argument, just do the Jedi mind trick.

Jon Capistrano – Dedicated to work, scooters, classical music, jazz, acid jazz, rock, punk rock, soul,ska, reggae, family and friends.

The Art Of Winning An Argument | Xen Life

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Featured photo credit: Gratisographyvia gratisography.com

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