Arguing effectively

Not all messages come across convincingly

An old saying goes “Talking with quiet confidence will always beat screaming with obvious insecurity.”

Everyone has their own beliefs and opinions. You know the drill: People are constantly persuading about anything from political positions to religions.

I myself have been in numerous arguments, from debating Lance Armstrong’s dignity all the way to big issues such as gay rights. However, it is not the issue that is always at stake, but rather how the person presents the argument.

There are two types of arguments I’ve found when dealing with opinionated people. In one case, they approach the situation with facts, experience and the most important element—the ability to listen.

When someone is willing to take a moment and consider what the other person is saying, it takes the debate to a whole new level. Articulating and communicating are key if the message is ever going to be able to get through to the other person.

On the other hand, there are always those obnoxious people who are stuck in their ways. Unable to fathom why someone would not agree with them, they just start spewing ridiculousness as a way to try and make their point.

In this case, I tend to lose more respect for them and their side of the argument because they have not presented a solid case. Their ignorance clouds the ability for a real conversation to take place.

The most common example I can think of is political beliefs. Children tend to follow what their parents believe while they are growing up before learning about the issues themselves as an adult. I know many people who are exclusively one political party simply because beliefs their parents embedded in them as a child.

Now, when these adults try and make a reasonable case for their position, they tend to not know how to present their side without bringing in their parents (not their own experience) or just getting frustrated because they do not know any solid evidence to back up their ideas.

The way to getting the message across is first knowing what you are talking about, and second, not overshadowing what the other person is trying to say. A debate is a two-way conversation that should open people up to other preferences and thoughts. It is not about one person talking at another.

Quiet confidence is the key to positive persuasion.