Whether we’re talking about an actual debate or a debate with your business partner regarding what the best course of action for your company is, winning one feels immensely satisfactory. The problem is that winning a debate can be really difficult sometimes, especially when your opponent makes some really great points. Whether you’ll be successful or not depends mostly on your ideas and how you expose them. Still, there are some tricks that when used, could bring you the victory. Today, we’re going to look at what 3 influencers have to say about how to win a debate.
3 Tips on How to Win a Debate from Top Influencers
1. Keep Your Emotions in Check
A debate is no place for you to show your emotions. You have to be able to win by using facts and logical arguments, not by appealing to people’s emotions. Similarly, being overemotional might tamper with your ability to make a point. Psychologist Eran Halperin warns that emotions can affect the way you perceive things. Thus, regulating them becomes really important for the success of a debate. You have to be able to control yourself, even when the other person loses their temper. Engaging in a shouting match will lead nowhere, and it could potentially only make matters worse. Even if your opponent might perceive you as weak, showing self-restraint in the face of someone who is pushing you to react is in fact a sign of tremendous strength.
2. Tailor Your Reply
The arguments you make and the way you present them are really important when it comes to winning a debate. According to a study conducted by Lillian Lee and some of her students from Cornell University, you have to be aware of the language you use when in a debate. Apart from the fact that the words should be “calm” (no swearing or aggressive words), they should also be as concrete as possible. Avoid using abstract words and terms, and stick to what is tangible and easily perceptible. The dominance of a word, which is the amount of control it expresses, is also relevant. Words that are evocative of success and power are much more effective. Furthermore, the longer your reply is, the more convincing it is. Try to include statistics, numbers, and concrete examples whenever you can.
3. Be Prepared to Respond to an Attack
Even if not always openly aggressive, attacks can be quite common in a debate. Which is why producer, screenwriter, and playwright Aaron Sorkin advises people to always be prepared for one. Consider all the aspects that could determine your opponent to start an attack. Then, think of what you would say in every situation. One of the most effective debate strategies, Sorkin says, is to know how to spin attacks in your favor. How could you turn the attack into an outlet for putting forth your strengths? If you can answer this question, you already know how to win a debate.
If you have a big debate coming up and you want to make sure you’re going to win it, remember to listen to the advice provided by the 3 experts above, and you’ll make a lasting impression. For some more effective debating techniques, make sure to watch the video below.
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