… without making enemies:
• Make sure you communicate you are not there to fight (using your tone of voice, for example).
• Avoid making statements; instead, ask questions.
• Defend yourself with confidence, but without coming across as antagonistic.
Raising Your Voice
When the conversation gets heated, we tend to raise our voices and talk faster. This is a dangerous path because now the ability of both sides to change their minds is close to zero. We dig even deeper into our initial positions and beliefs and no matter how good an argument is, it is not going to be received by the other side.
You can sense this happening when people rush to talk over one another.
• Slowing things down: take a deep breath before speaking, to create a pause, to reduce the tension and to open up the other person to your position.
• Inflections: upward inflections are good for de-escalating conflict because they show you are not there to control and command.
• The ability to crack a joke and the ability to take a joke and laugh make you more persuasive, give the impression of being on the same side and release the tension.
When having arguments, avoid making statements and use questions instead. These tend to come across as less confrontational. Examples of questions:
• Genuine questions to better understand the other position. After you receive and answer to them, state back to the other person, in your own words, their beliefs, to confirm you actually get it.
• Questions aimed at the inconsistencies of the other part, but in a non-accusatory way.
The Socratic Method
When you’re in the middle of an argument, frame your disagreements in the form of questions.
This gives the other person a chance to respond without feeling cornered and threatened.
Use the ” Yes, but…” technique: find agreement and follow your agreement up by showing when you disagree.
Finding any form of agreement is crucial in winning an argument, even if your position if perfectly logical. But you have to know exactly when you agree with someone (regarding which parts of their position) and when you don’t.
The Right Mindset
• In every argument, you are not necessarily right.
• Adjusting your beliefs in the face of evidence does not diminish you.
• if you did your part of trying to understand the other position and they are still wrong, this is never because they are evil, but because they are ignorant to a certain extent.