how to win a debate

5 Ways To Win An Argument

Screw you! You Fu*k**g idiot.

Did you forget to pay your brain bill?

I don’t know why I waste my time with your stupid a**.

With the destructive force of an enraged carnivorous animal that has tasted blood we use our tongues as uncontrollable weapons of mass destruction. Although the original intent is to passionately prove a point sometimes disagreements transform into a clash of raw emotion that is just as spontaneous as it is combustible.

An argument is supposed to be a junction of ideas where different perspectives merge together cohesively to form a bond between two opposing viewpoints. Now they are an un-officiated cage match of mixed martial arts fighters inflicting demoralizing blow after blow in attempts to not only humiliate but also destroy anyone who dares to view things in a differently.

Just because we have different points of view does not mean we are mortal enemies. When did communication become so brutal?

Well today my intention is to give you some non-violent and less explosive alternatives to getting your point across without permanently damaging a relationship. Here are some tips on how to win an argument.

1. The Truth Hurts-Base it on the Facts

The worst thing you can do during an argument is base your conversation on what you feel. Even though displaying emotion is important it is not the best used technique to win an argument. When a lawyer presents a case before a judge they want to have as much factual evidence as possible. This gives them the greatest odds of winning the trail. Would you trust a lawyer who doesn’t have any facts?

2. Name Your Source-Challenge Information

A gentleman, whom I will not name for fear of retaliation, had the nerve to tell me that Rodney Stucky was the best point guard in the NBA. He then went on and on about why he felt that way wasting all of my precious time. Obviously I didn’t agree. To save you some time here a tip. If the person you are communicating with seems to be stating a lot of their personal feelings ask them for facts, proof, or statistics.

The best way to do this and not make the situation more uncomfortable is to ask open ended questions like, Why do you feel….? After reviewing the important statistics we were quickly about to move on to something more important like lunch.

3. Control Your Boiling Point-Self Control

Maintaining your focus and self control will swing the odds in your favor when in a heated debate. Try not to lose your temper. The purpose of an argument is to prove a point with tact and finesse. If you lose control an argument can quickly transform into a deadly war of words that might become a physical altercation.

Have you ever seen two people who were really upset try to talk to one another? It is a waste of time. The people spend more time screaming over the other person while they are talking that no actual communication is happening.

4. How Old Are You?-Ignore Statements without Merit

In an argument people will get angry. They might even raise their voice. The thing I want you to consider is the reason why people yell in arguments. They want you to hear them. So do you best to give your undivided attention. Even then some people are just immature and will say things to intentionally get under your skin. You do not have to respond to everything another person says.

If they call you a raging idiot ignore them and terminate the conversation. Last time I checked name calling was done mostly by kids.

5. Paint a Picture-Use Vivid Examples

I believe the best way to prove your point peacefully is to use factual information that you can describe so vividly that the recipient can visualize it.

“Down by two with 10 seconds left on the clock, Dwayne Wade received the inbound pass at the top of the key after fighting through two defenders. He jabbed stepped to the left, did a two dribble drive, and jumped stopped outside of the three point line to take a shot. As the ball left his hands the entire crowd drew silent until.. That is why I think Dwayne Wade is one of the best player in the clutch.”

This statement is a lot more power than just saying that Wade is one of the best closers in the NBA.

Don’t get me wrong even when using these tips you will still lose some arguments but now you have some tools that will swing the odds in your favor.

Now it is your turn to share your tips with me. What would you do to win an argument?

Frank Jennings is the founder of A Spark Starts where he writes stories of inspiration to help you reach your greatest potential. All it takes is one spark to start a fire that will change you life.

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  • http://www.bjarteedvardsen.com Bjarte Edvardsen

    For me, winning arguments seem to become less and less important, although it does feel good to win sometimes; learning and stimulating the mind is far more important than winning when it comes to discussions in general. The winning should be accomplished by doing something rather than saying something (in my illusional perfect world).

  • http://www.balancedworklife.com/blog Bryce Christiansen

    I’m always of the mind that no one wins an argument. If you let it get to that point it’s tough to call it a win.

    Some times this is unavoidable. Take some time to cool off, make your points based on facts and give each other your attention and time to speak.

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  • http://www.asparkstarts.com Frank

    @Bjarte,

    Thanks so much for the comment I greatly appreciate it. In my line of work unfortunately arguments are unavoidable. In the perfect world no one would disagree but in life there will be people who may have a different opinion or see things from a different perspective. I wish I didn’t have to argue but sometimes when people communicate they don’t see eye to eye.

    Take some of the most current debates of our time like abortion, homosexual marriages, and even all the different religions and clearly there will be differences of opinion. The goal of this post was to give some tips and ideas on how to present your point of view without transforming it into a shouting match.

    So to me winning an argument is peacefully sharing your point of view without being demeaning or condescending. It is a way to prove you case with tact, humility and purpose.

    Once again thanks you for your comment.

  • http://www.asparkstarts.com Frank

    @Bryce

    Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts. I am grateful for your comment.

    First let me apologize because maybe I chose the wrong title for this post. Maybe it should be 5 Ways How to Win an Argument Peacefully. The goal of this post was to help people learn to communicate their point of view with a party that disagrees with them, not a how to for winning a shouting match. My opening was to display what arguments transform into instead of what they are intended for.

    In my eyes and argument is a natural occurrence that will happen as we interact with people from all walks of life. It is unavoidable but I don’t believe we have to lose our temper, scream, or use profanity as a means of displaying our passion. I agree with you Bryce if we get in a difficult situation the best thing you can do is base your position on facts and make sure you are actively listening to determine where you are in disagreement.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  • Chris

    THAT GUY THAT THINKS RODNEY STUCKEY IS THE BIGGEST LOSER ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET!!!! lol…im just kidding…but i find it interesting that he thinks that…good tips by the way!!!

  • http://mazzastick.com Mazzastick

    I seldom find any value in arguing with another person. If I must confront someone I just stick to the facts as you said. Some people are conditioned to yell and scream when arguing, others avoid confrontation at all costs.

  • http://www.newagethinker.com David

    The point of an argument is to prove a certain point. The problem is once in a argument, people (no matter how hard they try) will become emotionally attached. Therefore, their level of logic goes down. So even with facts that support your claim it will be hard for the other side to just admit they are wrong (directly or indirectly). I think its hard to win an argument one on one, unless you have a 3rd person that’s unbiased judge who the winner is.

    But I have to say it is entertaining for me, at least when the argument is some what intellectual. Unfortunately with the people I argue with, they rarely ever are!

  • Khat

    An argument is two opposing viewpoints with each person believing their viewpoint is “right.” In reality, both viewpoints are valid and if you can look at it with that perspective, then you have a win/win situation and include both viewpoints which in turn, opens the door for communication and not such an infantile game of name calling and yelling like a two year old having a temper tantrum. Remember, you are people first, and what is more important, the issue or the relationship?

    I enjoyed reading your post.

  • M. Cole Jr.

    Frank, you’ve done it again! Great job on this one!
    I’ve been in my tanks share of arguments in my 20 years and for most of it, I yelled and expressed my feelings; I was very biased and rarely used facts. Sometime in High School, I learned that wasn’t getting me anywhere and that I was losing the arguments.
    Now, when I argue, I’m usually laughing at who I’m arguing/discussing/or debating with because they do what I use to do and I’m stating facts and remaining cool, calm and collective! I must admit that sometimes, I push buttons (purposely) in arguments, just to test the person (my button pushing is always on subject though, lol).
    Anyway, everything that you said… You’re on it brother!

  • Anthony

    I try to avoid arguments. Sometimes that means bending to another person’s point of view. (Not saying it should be done. You should stick up for yourself. It’s just what I do.) Every once in a while, if I find myself in an argument, I sometimes try to mediate a little bit and see it from the other person’s point of view. If they make valid points then I back down. If not then I try to get my point across. When having an argument about something with more gray areas than normal I tend to back down and let the person have his own opinions. It doesn’t mean that I have to change my own for this person.

  • Tomjay

    when both people are deep in to the argument, subtly start arguing against yourself. at this point, the other person will just want to prove you wrong and start arguing for you/Or simply state a fact with no relevance to the argument and throw them off course/ continuously speak in an obscenely calm voice

  • Jacobscout

    FACTS: (in an angry argument between two close friends)

    1. An argument is not equal to a discussion.  An argument is a discussion elevated by passion to the point of anger.

    2.  An argument requires the participation of two people.
    a. Neither is solely responsible but either may prevent the argument.

    3.  An argument can only develop when one party asserts the importance of his own opinion over that of peace in his relationship with the other party.
    a. He devalues his relationship by giving greater value to his opinion.
    b. Having seen the relationship devalued by one party, the other party more easily follows suit.

    4. Choosing to argue may make place for profanity and abuse which devalues the respect each party has for himself and the other.

    PREVENTION:

    1. The party that wishes to prevent an argument makes a decision in favor of the relationship that requires that he:
    a. Avoid introducing a controversial subject.
    b. Avoid responding to a controversial subject with argument.

    2.  These avoidances will require humility, prayer, wisdom and an intentional desire to maintain a happy and peaceful relationship.

    3.  Two persons will always have subjects about which they disagree either in totality or with varying degrees of intensity.

    4. The peacemaker must have an understanding that the other party is entitled to have a different opinion and that it is not a threat to his own well-being.

    5.  If, indeed (and this is not often the case) the subject of disagreement is a true immediate threat to the well-being of the other party, then:
    a. Creative means must be pursued to demonstrate the fact while also demonstrating a high value for the relationship… or,
    b. In an emergency, decisive action must be taken to avert the threat in spite of resistance.

  • Jacobscout

    The posting above was not meant to be a refutation of Frank’s excellent article which covers logical rules to making a persuasive point (true argument), but rather just some observations I have made about how to prevent an angry fight with someone you love.  Hope it is helpful!

  • Rima Christie

    Too many people seem to have the inability to stretch themselves and see the other side of the argument or discussion, they just are blocked by there own prejudices and short comings. Even when I agree with some of their points they still will not even consider looking at things from a different perspective. One of my college professors used a wonderful model…. if ten people sit around a circle and an elephant is in the middle … when asked.. each person describes their perspective on what the elephant looks like… there testimonial beccomes “THE TRUTH” but they are so short sided as not to consider that there is more than they might see.. it’s very frustrating!

  • Kayladoerr

    For me winning arguements i say stuff that will make them delete you off facebook or block you so they can fuck off. 

    • vergetade

      like???

  • Hahaha

    errrrrr……..

  • Char

    I use passive aggression,  if this doesn’t work I use its unfortunate you feel that way…

  • Pastor Lee

    For myself, though I don’t always follow this – the best way to “win” an argument, is not to argue back.  It’s hard for someone to have an argument with you, if you don’t argue back.  I figure, if I don’t argue back – regardless of what the other person says, I “win” — in fact, we both “win”.  Arguments are a lose-lose situation, but refusing to argue back turns that into a win-win situation, and prevents the inevitable hurt.

    Pastor Lee

    • sharon

      how do i not try to argue back when it involves my mother putting in a whole bunch of lies to court over my daughter, i see you are a pastor, what is a christian way to prove yourself in court, how do i stay strong, i pray and it seems that i am still in the same boat as i was in 6 months ago PLEASE EMAIL ME selabnorahs@yahoo.com

    • sharon

      I like pastor lee’s answer, I try but don’t always do this..

  • GhshagH

    Guess what? Because of your floating ad bar, I wont be buying author’s book, or reading any more of his material. Grats!

  • Alexgarcia2013

    Women always win. Always :/

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  • sharon

    I have a boyfriend that is biopolar and quit drinking for three years. I really wish he would start to drink again; he was a better person. When he drank he was only medicating his biopolar moods. We argue at least 10 to 15 times daily!!! I do yell back, but, have learned to try and use coping mechanisms to deal with him. The yelling on my part has gotten so bad that I developed polyits on my vocal chords.The dr. stated if I didnt stop i would evenuatly lose my voice. The way I try to deal with stop yelling is to laugh at him and just agree with everything he says. It seems the more i yell and feed that fire the more he enjoys it…. I also spend alot of time in my bedroom to avoid arguements, which is not health. He, does sleep on the couch for the past three years. I have planned to leave my own residence of 15 years and let him have my own house.. I own this house iam leaving as I can’t seem to get him out. I feel sorry for him as all of his family is deceased and the two that are alive, live a far distance from us and he has allienied himself from them. They dont contact him. This is a man of 47 years of age and never married, tells a lot about him. The first year that i was with him was great!! I thought he was the man of my dreams but now he is a nightmare….If you have any other tools for stopping the yelling that I could use please email me at pamelamarcia@yahoo.com ..P.S. I have been sexual abuse as a child many times and have opened up to him.. In are yelling rages he tells me that I enjoyed being molestated. There has been so many hurtful things said, and no I am sorry from him… I hate this man at times. I plan to leave in the month of Oct 2013. Please email with any answers. Thanks

  • Bobothebear

    Ask lots of questions until the person gets confused and eventually contradicts himself, then you point out to him he’s contradicting hinself, then he will feel dumb, and then you win

  • beta

    My brother lies all the time to
    win in arguments!! He says things like i always bitch about the food we eat.. And
    when i ask him about just 1 of the everyday occurrence and he just says this is
    why i hate talking to you.. Or when he says how I’m always right.. just no way
    of getting out of that one, i tell him that i don’t like when people use
    bullshit to prove that they are right and he just goes on and on during an
    argument how I’m always right blah blah I’m always right… what a bastard! Then
    he brings up these topics like “how do we know we are conversing” and
    when i either don’t know or don’t want to even talk about a dumb question like
    that, that is a question that brings up an argument he gets fucking pissed
    off.. Any advice how to win vs. him.. He does this all the time and never uses
    facts to base his argument and he always uses dumb terms like “always
    right, this is why i hate talking to you” and he’s like you just never
    listen to people and just care about yourself.. Shit like that, i know its
    bullshit but it is getting old.. or like he says I’m closed minded.. lol some
    of the stuff he says is just fake and he uses things i know that are lies to
    support his evidence and he HATES when i correct him when i know I’m right and
    then he plays the “high moral card” to evade it!

    Someone please help!

    P.S he does the cheap shot thing about everything – like how i would be shitty at ____ and that blank is something i would love to do.. it just pisses me off… and i never do cheap shots back because im more logical and factual!

    • Fenwick’s in the manger

      Beta-

      Family…… tough nuts to crack. You bro knows what gets to you and wields it like Thor’s hammer. My bros did it to me too. Actually, the act of frustrating a sibling, in that manner, can scar a person for a long time. It can, and does, create relationship issues way down the line, even years later, when your bro and his hammer, isn’t around.

      Remember, no one can control the way you react, except for you. You know his tactics & you know he’s really only trying to get you to react in the way HE wants you to react. [to make you mad or, feel crappy about yourself or, embarrass you in front of a person you like, etc]

      What gets your blood boiling?…. a total stranger saying to you that “yer an idiot” or hearing it from your brother? If the outcome of that statement to you is different in each case, ask yourself ‘why.’ Why do those words hurt in 1 case and not the other? If, no matter who says that to you & they both get your blood boiling equally, you have a self-image issue to work on and, that image is a direct result of your relationship with those that make you feel inferior [brother].

      Here’s a couple of tips……

      During a ‘discussion or argument’, the moment I hear, an ad-hominem
      attack [yer an idiot] or, a comment without context [yer just saying
      that because you're jealous (with absolutely zero proof of my jealousy)]
      or, the person really starts raising his/her voice TO MAKE A POINT!! At
      that point, I simply, quietly, say, “I’m done here.” I walk away. If
      in a car, open the window. Or just simply ignore him/her until he/she
      shows signs of returning to a mature, fact-based discussion. Don’t ignore like an angry 8 year old girl, just ignore like “I’m not going to get pulled into yet another one of your “Thor’s Hammer Projects.” For me it
      isn’t about winning an argument. Some people simply do not want to
      accept the info you are offering and, forcing it on them works about as
      well as giving a feral cat a bath. Especially with family.

      I told this to both my brothers at the height of the time that we didn’t get along well. This is going to sound kinda rude/gross/uncivilized but, I said: “Just because we [the 2 brothers] came out of the same vagina, does not mean we have to ‘get-along’. We are individuals and , I’m not about to live the rest of my life under your thumbs. I’m more intelligent than the both of you put together & I’ve grown tired of your games, your immaturity, your racism and, being your little brother. I’m done.” After that I didn’t talk to them for quite a while. When we did begin speaking, for 1 bro it was 3 months later, the other took longer, it was on my terms. I waited for them to contact me. They finally respected me. This may or may not work for all but, it’s an example of the mechanics of brotherly relationships.

      Really, just remember to be good to yourself too. It isn’t written anywhere that you have to take shit from anyone.

      • Fenwick’s in the manger

        “They finally respected me.” By that I meant, they finally saw me, not as their little brother, somehow stuck in their minds as a kid on a Stingray bike riding home from a friend’s house for dinner, but as what I am, an adult man, married with children, running my own small business, 10x more successful than them and, I don’t mean successful financially. I mean, happily married for 25 years [neither of them are] my kids never got into drugs [theirs did & very heavily] etc.

  • Jodi

    Use complicated vocabulary. Although, don’t try to force them into a sentence, and don’t ask,”Do you even know what that means?” right after you say it, or people will instantly think that you prepared the word, which you did, but you don’t want anybody to know that.

    -Jodi

  • Fenwick’s in the manger

    During a ‘discussion or argument’, the moment I hear, an ad-hominem attack [yer an idiot] or, a comment without context [yer just saying that because you're jealous (with absolutely zero proof of my jealousy)] or, the person really starts raising his/her voice TO MAKE A POINT!! At that point, I simply, quietly, say, “we’re done here.” I walk away. If in a car, open the window. Or just simply ignore him/her until he/she shows signs of returning to a mature, fact-based discussion. For me it isn’t about winning an argument. Some people simply do not want to accept the info you are offering and, forcing it on them works about as well as giving a feral cat a bath.

  • Tony James

    Wow even a floating add bar contributes to some of your decision making capabilities.
    You must be feeling very sheepy.

  • kelly

    dont argue with an ignorant person because they will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience# facts

  • Mynameisdar

    My sister always wins an argument over me because she says I have low vocabulary or something, can someone help me? I don’t have a low vocabulary I just can’t say any harsh words because it will make me lose.

  • <3<3<3<3<3 love

    Say something that you and him/her only knows that is true and… spill