How To Argue Effectively PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 08 September 2008 00:00

The movie “Thank You for Smoking” contains a great scene in which the lead character played by Aaron Eckhart explains the secret to his success in promoting smoking in the face of overwhelming criticism. He coaches his son that in his line of work the art to winning an argument is not to prove that his point of view is correct, but instead to prove that some aspect of the other party’s view is incorrect.  If this can be achieved then their whole position is put under question and weakened as a result.

It is therefore not surprising then that to art of arguing effectively is about identifying the smallest number of strong arguments and discarding the rest. Simply, put weaker points undermine the stronger ones.

There are several benefits from adopting this approach. First, the points of attack for the other party are minimised, but perhaps the more important benefit is that the act of culling the weaker points helps you focus on the real issue(s) of concern. This means that when it comes time to discuss them with other party you spend your time discussing the real issues at hand instead of wasting time on ones that ultimately don’t matter. The end result is that your discussions with others on points of contention will become more focused, less combative, and more productive.

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Last Updated on Monday, 08 September 2008 22:17