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How to win an argument

by Kevin D. Crone

September 24, 2018
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At a dinner party a year or so ago in Florida I watched two good friends and neighbours go at it over politics. One was actually screaming at the other person over one simple comment and she never got to explain what she meant. That was a terrible and awkward evening. These two friends never talked to each other again for another couple of months. How dumb you might think, but you have probably witnessed a similar incident. Or you yourself have been in an argument that drained you and didn’t have a good outcome.

Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each person being completely convinced that he or she is right. No one ever wins. Suppose you make mince meat out of the other person’s points. Then what? You may make the other person feel inferior and hurt their pride and they will resent your so-called victory. Dale Carnegie said, “A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still”. You will never get your opponent’s good will.

Everyone wants a feeling of importance and, when you are arguing, you are putting them down which is disastrous to future relationships and any good outcomes that you could accomplish together. Buddha said, “Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love”. And a misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation, and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s view point.

You and I have seen some people lose their temper and self control. For what, “I told him a thing or two”. How far these individuals get in their careers when they are letting off steam at others expense? Eventually, in business, we should begin to realize that building our ability to be a real leader is more important to our careers than being able to get our licks in or appearing to be right all the time. There are 30 principles of dealing with people that Dale Carnegie made famous and around 80 million people from around the world have studied them. They should be reviewed, studied and practiced by every young person, (actually by all of us), if we want to have a more productive career and happy life.

Don’t you just love the person that is quick to correct you all the time? What do they get from it? They show you how smart they are, I guess. What they really get is resentment, attract arguments and limit co-operation.

Yes, we all see politicians use name calling, blaming and make stupid assertions. They aren’t great examples. But unless you are a mob leader, dictator or an all powerful business owner or CEO, don’t copy their behaviour. You won’t get away with it and you’ll look just as bad as they do.

If you want a great family, business environment, neighbourhood, take heed of the following conclusion: There is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument – and that is to avoid it. Avoid it as you would avoid rattlesnakes and grisly bears.

Let’s count to ten this week when we are ready to show our superiority and importance by getting into an argument. Be cool. Tactfully and graciously move on. You will be happy you did.

Have a great week