The Art of Winning an Argument

Argument

Every day we deal with situations where conflicts arise. People disagree with you. You get into an argument and it seems that the other person won’t listen to you. It could be a customer, your spouse, your child, your friend, your neighbor or your boss. A customer demands a full refund after the warranty has expired. Your husband wants to buy a new car when you don’t have the money. You feel you deserve a raise but your boss won’t listen. If only you could get the other person to see things your way!

Well you can! This article will give you a sure-fire technique that will help you win arguments and leave both sides smiling.

The main goal is to get the other person to see things your way

What does winning an argument really mean? Isn’t it essentially getting the other person to see things your way? You want them to agree with you, to change their thinking, to change their mind. If you have accomplished this then you have won the argument. The problem is we usually go about it wrong because we follow our natural tendencies to persuade. 

Why following our “Natural Tendencies” leads to failure

When we find ourselves in conflicting situations our natural tendency is to argue. It’s human nature to do so. It’s almost an irresistible urge. We want to conquer and beat our opponent down. This is natural for us and it’s WRONG! It’s wrong for one good reason: It doesn’t work!

High pressure causes a natural reaction to push back. No one likes to be told they are wrong. No one likes to be forced to do or think anything. No one likes threats. Our natural reaction is to fight back, to push back, to argue back.

“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

This is why criticism, scare tactics and threats don’t work. Tell someone their idea is stupid and they will defend it all the more. Criticize someone’s position and they will fight back to save face. One of the strongest urges in human nature is self-survival and that includes survival of the ego too.

How winning at golf and winning arguments are related

Years ago when I played my very first game of golf things didn’t go very well. I grabbed a driver and stepped up to the first tee. I swung at the ball with all my might. I watched it slice right into the nearby pond. Splash!

The swing felt very natural to me but the ball didn’t go where I wanted it to go. This happened again on my next few attempts. I was an utter failure.

Then one of my golf buddies proceeded to show me how to hold the club, where to put my feet, how to position my shoulders, when to breath, and so on. It all felt very unnatural to me!  But guess what happened on my next swing – I connected with the ball and it went relatively straight and much further than before.

Golf is hard because it’s not natural. It goes against every natural tendency. To be successful at golf you have to learn a very scientific but unnatural swing. The same goes with winning arguments. You have to learn very scientific but unnatural techniques. 

The scientific technique that works

The scientific method to win an argument is just the opposite of what we naturally do.

Low pressure is the secret

Have you ever noticed that when someone tells you, “You can’t do that,” you have an uncontrollable urge to do it anyway? Have you ever noticed when someone tells you “You have to do so and so,” that your automatic reaction is, “Oh no I don’t!”

Scientific research has verified it over and over. Study after study has revealed that efforts to sway thinking or change behavior using high pressure, threats or force simply don’t work. Yet those people who were presented with unemotional facts, without any pressure, were much more likely to change their behavior or thinking.

We learn from the Bible:

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
— Proverbs 15:1

We must work with human nature

It all boils down to this: you must learn to work with human nature, not against it. To do so, follow these guidelines:

1. Approach in a friendly manner. Instead of coming on with an attitude or temper, use a soft voice and a relaxed state of mind. Smile and let the other person know you are their friend.

2. Listen to their point of view. Whether the other person’s side of the issue has any merit or not, allow them to express it and then LISTEN! People have a need to be heard. When you allow the other person a chance to speak it relieves a great deal of pressure off the situation.

3. Empathize with their ideas. Show genuine concern for their position. Help them feel that you understand them and care about their situation. People are more willing to see your point of view when they feel their point of view has been understood. This gives you a chance to present your own ideas in the context of having understood the pros and cons of theirs. 

Take the pressure off

To maintain an open channel of communication with another person we need to take the pressure off. Be friendly, listen to them, empathize with them. This doesn’t mean you agree with them, necessarily, but rather that you are open and willing to accept their point of view. Showing you understand them will take the wind out of their confrontational sails. Arguments aren’t possible when you pay close attention to the other person’s interests because it leaves only one place to go: understanding what you want.

Try it and see. You may be surprised to learn that your most powerful tool in winning an argument is to not have one at all – and this is done by taking the pressure off.

Cash in on the Universal Law of Human Behavior

blue-silk-tie-3pcs-349Let me start off by making a very bold statement. There is a law of human behavior that works every time. It never fails. There are no exceptions. It will work with rebellious teenagers, nagging wives, uncaring husbands, demeaning bosses, obstinate employees, or annoying neighbors. When you use this law you will get others to admire and respect you. You will get others to want to help you get what you want. You will convert your enemies into friends. You will get other people to do what you want them to do. Interested?

The Universal Law at work

Several years ago I had an experience that taught me this great lesson of human behavior. I had just finished a large software development project for an RV park and campground. It was a new reservation system and it required me to spend several days at the campground installing the software and training the employees how to use it.

One day as I was working behind the reservation desk a very large and expensive motorhome pulled up to the campground office. An older woman stepped out of the motorhome and came in to the office. She was an elegant and well-dressed woman. One look at her and you could tell she was a lady of class.

It wasn’t my job but since I was at the computer I offered to help her. As I pulled up her reservation information on the computer she stopped me for a moment and said, “Where did you get that lovely tie? It looks so good on you and matches your eyes.” She kept going on and on about my tie and insisted on knowing where I bought it. I was embarrassed to tell her I bought it at the local Kmart store. I thought she would laugh at me but no, she even wanted to know where the Kmart store was because she wanted to buy a tie just like it for her husband.

Now to you this may sound like some silly little incident that’s not even worth mentioning. It shouldn’t be worth mentioning except for the amazing effect it had on me that day. First of all, what kind of service do you suppose I gave that lady? Excellent service, that’s for sure! I made sure every little detail was taken care of for her. And for the entire rest of that day I simply felt wonderful and had a big smile on my face. Even now, over 15 years later, I can remember that incident like it was yesterday. And guess what, I still really like that lady!

Why does this law work?

So what happened there? What was it about that little incident that had such power over me? For Pete’s sake, a lady simply complimented me on my silly Kmart tie and my day was transformed! How could that be?

Whether she knew it or not, this woman used a proven law of human behavior. It is a law as universal as is Newton’s law of gravity. It is as much a part of man as his heart or his brain. It is this:

Every person in the world has a deep and burning desire, even an insatiable craving—to be liked, to be respected, to feel important.

The woman at the campground simply gave me what I craved the most and I became putty in her hands. I was ready to do whatever it took to satisfy her needs and make her happy.

Once you know the law, use it!

Now that you know what this law is, why don’t you do something with it? Why don’t you use this basic human drive in your daily relationships with other people? Once you know how to satisfy their longing for importance you will find your own influence with them rising greatly.

I believe in this statement by Les Giblin:

You want to make a good impression with the other fellow. But the most effective way ever discovered for impressing the other fellow is to let him know that you are impressed by him.

When you consider the remarkable consequences that can result from the littlest things, like a kind word, a pat on the shoulder, a smile, a tip of the hat, a simple complement, wouldn’t it be well to incorporate those things into your daily interactions with others?

You have the power within you

You have the power to give people what they crave: the feeling of importance, to be appreciated, to be noticed. Like the lady at the campground, it doesn’t cost you a dime to give it out. You don’t have to fear that you’ll use it all up. You have a never ending supply of it. Learn to use this great power and others will have a tremendous desire to help you get what you want. They will remember you for years with high regard because of how you made them feel. You have the power. Use it!

How to Use Emotional Connections to Influence Others

PersonalityWe Are Emotional Beings

You need to understand one basic trait of human beings and it is this:

Humans are not logical creatures.

People don’t usually base their actions and decisions on logic. We humans are more influenced by emotion than reason or good judgment. Our emotions are what drive us. We are emotional beings much more so than logical beings.

Being emotional beings, we want our emotions fed. It is amazing what people will do to satisfy their emotional needs with little regard to logic. When you see people doing things that looks incredibly stupid, they are generally doing it to fill an emotional need. When you watch the evening news or pick up the newspaper you will come across story after story of people doing what appear to be strange and illogical things such as bank robberies, car chases, drug use, embezzlement and every other kind of crazy thing. All of these people are doing these things to fulfill unmet emotional needs.

How Can This Help?

How does knowing this help you? Let’s think about it. If you are trying to influence someone and the only tool you are using is logic, in nearly every case you will fail. However, when you have an emotional connection with that person, even the weakest of logical arguments can succeed. If you can connect with someone emotionally then your power to influence them is vastly improved.

Making Emotional Connections

So how do you make emotional connections with people? There are a number of ways. Let’s talk about one powerful one. The more you know about someone, the more you will be able to connect with them emotionally and therefore you are able to influence them.

By taking the time to learn about another person you gain two things. First it helps you understand that person; where they are coming from and what makes them tick. Secondly, it lets them know that you care about them and are interested in them.

For example, imagine a person you only casually know who comes up to you and calls you by name and asks about the details of your life that aren’t generally known. You can’t help but be impressed and flattered. When they ask you about your job or your family or your hobbies and interests, it’s obvious they have taken an interest in you. You look at that person in a different light. You feel a connection with that person.

My Challenge to You

This is my challenge to you. Think about the people you must deal with and those you need to influence. This could be your boss at work, your spouse, your children, your neighbor or your banker. What I want you to do is play the role of private investigator and begin to learn all you can about that person – details that the average person wouldn’t know. Write them down. Create a file on them if you have to. Do they play tennis? Do they have children? What are their names? What does this person do in his or her leisure time? Where did they attend high school or college?

Then the next time you are with them you can use this information to build that emotional connection. Ask about their children by name. “How is Jennifer enjoying being a cheerleader?” or “How is Jonny doing with Little League baseball?” You will be amazed how they will light up when you talk about their interests.

What it does is build up an emotional connection between you and them. Then when it comes time that you need their assistance or you need to influence them in some way, you will have a much easier time of it.

We All Have the Need

We all have an incredible need to be validated emotionally. We want to fit in, to belong, to be liked. When someone fills those needs we are much more willing to accept their ideas. We are more willing to trust them and want to please them, and yes, even be influenced by them.

How to Make Opposition Work for You

Opposition

Have you ever tried to persuade someone to your way of thinking only to be confronted by heavy opposition? Although it may sound illogical, opposition can actually be a good thing when trying to influence and persuade others.

Opposition can be good

Every time we are engaged in an attempt to influence someone we need to evaluate whether that person is receptive to our efforts or not. Normally when we encounter opposition we tend to feel our efforts are failing. Strange as it may seem, that’s not necessarily the case.

Opposition means you still have a chance

Let’s suppose you are in a meeting and you are presenting an idea and someone in the meeting begins to challenge it. They throw up opposition by arguing why it can’t be done or why it shouldn’t be done or why your idea isn’t a good idea. Your first thought is to think that the person will be impossible to persuade to your way of thinking. Actuallythe opposite is true. It’s the person who agrees immediately with your ideas and wants to move on that usually is not going to take any action in that direction. The person who is actually giving you opposition and is actively engaged in a discussion about it is much more likely to be persuaded.

If the other person agrees too easily 

Let me give you an example. Let’s suppose you know someone who is in very poor health and you tell them, “You know, you really ought to go see a doctor and get a checkup.” That person can handle that suggestion is two ways.

The first way is to agree with you immediately and say, “Yes, you’re right. I should go see a doctor and get a checkup.” They don’t argue with you at all. They immediately agree with you but inside they know that they have no intention whatsoever of going and seeing a doctor. They want to agree with you immediately so they can move on. They want to get past the subject. They don’t want to discuss it. They know on one level that you’re right, but on another emotional level they have many internal reasons they don’t want to see a doctor. It could be that they are afraid of what the doctor may find out. It could be that they can’t afford it. It’s going to cost them money and they don’t want to spend it. It could be that they already know what the doctor is going to tell them. The doctor is going to tell them they need to cut out certain foods and they need to exercise and they are not ready to deal with that right now.

So they will agree with you immediately so they can get off the subject and move on. You haven’t persuaded them at all but they want you to think that you have. So when someone agrees with you immediately it’s a sign that they are closed to discussion.

If the other person disagrees 

The second way they can respond is to disagree with you. If they argue with you about it, then the channels of persuasion are still open. They will say things like, “You know, I don’t really want to go to the doctor. It’s too much of a hassle and I don’t trust doctors.” If they oppose you, if there is opposition there, then the conduit of persuasion is still open.

You may think just the opposite is true when they agree with you. You think you have persuaded them but when they oppose you and argue with you, you think that you haven’t persuaded them. Opposition doesn’t mean that you have persuaded them but it does mean that the lines of communication and the channels of persuasion and influence are still open and that you still have that opportunity. They still haven’t made up their mind internally. There’s an internal conflict. So they may be arguing with you on the outside but internally they are arguing with themselves about whether they should or they shouldn’t pursue the particular course you are suggesting.

Pay attention to the responses you get

The next time you are in a situation where you need to persuade others to your way of thinking, pay attention to their response. If there is opposition then you still have a good chance to change their minds.

Give a Person a Reputation to Live Up To

You Rock!

“I have found that the best way to get another to acquire a virtue, is to impute it to him” – Winston Churchill

Do you want to get your husband to lose weight? Do you want your mechanic to do the best repair job possible on your car and for the best price? Do you want your employees to work extra hard to try and please you? One simple technique can accomplish this. It is the technique of giving the other person a reputation to live up to. Let me share with you a story and some examples:

 California Adventure Story

A number of years ago I took my family on a trip to California to visit my relatives and see some of the sights. Sorry to say, our car had other plans. When we arrived at my aunt’s house the car began overheating. Steam was pouring out from under the hood.

My aunt knew what to do. You see, she was a master at the technique I’m about to teach you today. She told us she had a mechanic that would take care of us. Unfortunately it was a Saturday and her mechanic shop was closed. Somehow she got the mechanic’s home phone number and called him. I remember very clearly how she talked with her mechanic. She talked about what a fantastic mechanic he was and how he had never let her down and how she loved to take her business to him because of his great service. Somehow, someway, she ended up persuading him to meet us at his shop to take a look at our car.

We went to the shop and she again talked with her mechanic like she had before, but did it in front of me and my wife. Then, in front of the mechanic, she told me and my wife what a great mechanic he was and that he will for sure take care of us and that he always charges a fair price. She went on and on about it.

I was amazed to watch this mechanic bend over backwards for us after that. He dropped his Saturday plans and went to work on our car. He found that our car needed a new radiator. So he made several phone calls and got one delivered right away. He worked very hard to install it and got our car running again. It was truly amazing how this all happened.

If my aunt had used the usual approach, the mechanic would have simply told us they were closed on Saturday and to bring the car in on Monday and they would look at it then. Instead, my aunt persuaded her mechanic in a positive way by using the technique of giving him a reputation to live up to.

 Example 1:

Let’s suppose you are the head of the software development department of your company and the company president has an important project he wants done. You decide you will assign your employee Bob to handle the project. However, you’re worried that Bob may not do the best job possible. So you decide to use this great persuasion technique.

You arrange a meeting with the company president where you and Bob go over the details of the project with him. As the meeting is about to conclude you say to the company president, “You don’t have to worry about a thing. There is nobody better than Bob at being able to take on a challenge like this. He’s one of my best programmers and I know he will be able to complete this project quickly and efficiently.” You go on and on with the company president about what a great programmer Bob is.

Now, do think for one minute that Bob is going to mess up on this project? Here he was praised and built up right in front of the company president. If this is how his boss thinks of him there is no way he is going to let him down. He now has a reputation to live up to, and he will!

 Example 2:

Let’s explore dealing with your children. Suppose your son is being mean to his sister and you need to correct him. Instead of beating him up verbally and telling him what a bad person he is, try this:

“Son, I just don’t understand it. You are normally one of the kindest boys I’ve known. It’s just not like you to act this way. I’m so surprised. I’m sure you won’t do this again because you’re just not that way.”

So now your son thinks, “Wow, my dad thinks that about me and now look what I’ve done, I’ve let him down.” He’s going to try extra hard to not let you down in the future because now you’ve given him a reputation to live up to.

 Example 3:

Let’s suppose that your husband has gained a little weight and he isn’t in quite the shape that you know he could be. You could say:

“Gee honey, you’ve put on a few pounds lately. Maybe you shouldn’t eat so much. You know you really ought to get out and get some exercise.”

How is that going to make him feel? Is it going to make him want to go right out and start exercising and eating right? Not hardly. It’s going to make him feel horrible! First of all he is going to justify why he is the way he is. And then he’s going to fight against it. It’s human nature.

Or you could use the other approach of giving him a reputation to live up to. When he comes home from work you give him a big hug and say:

“Gosh, you look so good today! Have you lost weight? You’ve been working out, haven’t you? I’m so glad you’re not like all my friend’s husbands. They just let themselves go and are so huge. Thanks for working so hard at keeping yourself fit and trim.”

Now, I’m not advocating lying. What I’m advocating is looking for the positive and accentuating it.

 Try it!

You can imagine which approach you would prefer if you were on the receiving end? Which would motivate you more to change? As you can see, giving the other person a reputation to live up to is an excellent tool for positive persuasion. I challenge you to try this technique over the next week and see what results you get.

Let me know how it goes by sharing your comments below.

How to Get Total Cooperation from Others

Cooperation

Have you ever needed someone’s help only to find that getting it was like pulling teeth? Maybe you were going about it all wrong. Suppose there was another way to solicit help from others that would almost guarantee their total cooperation. If you are interested, then read on.

Try This Test

Try this test the next time you want someone to help you with something. It doesn’t really matter what you need help with. It can be shoveling snow, painting a fence or solving a computer problem.

Test 1: For the first test, simply ask someone to help you. Say, “Will you help me do this?” Tell them exactly what you want them to do and how to do it. You can even offer to pay them, but make it clear that all you are paying them to do is just what you want them to do. Now note what kind of cooperation you get.

Test 2: For this second test don’t just ask the other person to help you “do” something. Approach them by asking them to help you think about the job that needs to be done. Tell them you have a problem and would like their help in resolving it. Ask them what they think about the problem. Ask them for their opinion about how you are going about it. Again, note what level of cooperation you get.  

Inevitably, you will find that although you will get some level of cooperation with the first method, you will almost always get total cooperation with the second method.

A Basic Law of Human Nature

Why is it that if you are out in your yard painting your fence and you ask your neighbor, “Hey John, can you come over and help me paint my fence?” he will tell you to go take a hike?

But if you say, “John, I’m trying to paint my fence and I just don’t know if I’m doing it right. I just can’t seem to get the paint to go on very smooth. Do you have any ideas of what I’m doing wrong?” John will more than likely come over, take the paint brush out of your hand and say, “Here, let me show you how it’s done.”

The reason is simple. There is a basic law of human nature that says we are much more interested in our own problems than the problems of others. When you ask John to help you paint your fence, it is your problem. But when you ask for his advice about painting the fence, you give him a challenge to solve a problem and thus the problem becomes his.

We Need to Be Needed

Another factor involved here is the human need to feel important. By asking John for advice you gave him the feeling of importance, the feeling of being needed. We are much more willing to give of ourselves when we are being looked up to and sought out for our knowledge and skills. It is much easier to engage the brawn when the brain is involved.

This works with painting fences or running billion-dollar corporations. The next time you would like someone to do something, rather than tell them to do it, engage their brain. Let them contribute their ideas and become part of the solution to the problem and you will find them bending over backwards to help you. It’s human nature and it works every time.