So I just listened to the audiobook recording of “How to argue everytime and win.” When I was looking for new audiobooks, this one showed up as one of the most popular. When I first read the title of it, I scoffed at myself a little for the author to make such a bold statement. I thought to myself, “How can you expect to win everytime you argue? It just doesn’t work that way.” I was also wondering to myself why it was so important to “win” in any argument that you got in. But regardless, it sounded really interesting so I decided to take a little peek what it was all about.
I was actually really surprised by how great this audiobook was. The author, Gerry Spence, first came off as a really arrogant and conservative type of guy, but the more I listened his words, great messages of humility, acceptance, and even love permeated throughout his ideology. According to him, the point of arguing was to “get what you want” and that it shouldn’t be necessarily seen as an inherently selfish thing, but rather a way for us to be honest with ourselves in terms of our needs.
As a lawyer for over 40 years, the author is almost an artist in the art of arguing and he shares many of his tips how to “always win.” He also reshapes the of definition of winning as NOT simply wanting the other party to bow down in defeat, but rather winning as to have the best argument that connects on a logical and even more importantly, emotional level.
To always make a moving argument that connects with people, we must realize that it is not the words we say, but the emotion behind the words. You can choose the most eloquent word in the English dictionary but unless you say it with passion and emotion, it won’t mean anything to the listener. Using a simpler word with much more energy and vigor is thousands of times more effective than using a fancy word you find in the thesauraus with no heart.
One of the largest fundamentals of a winning argument is preparation. At times we may feel that the best speakers out there are just simply gifted, but talent means nothing without hard work and preparation. To know our argument inside is of upmost importance, and we must also prepare what the other party may say in order to try to contradict us. A great way to prepare is to actually write down your argument. Whatever thoughts we may have in our head do not truly exist until they are scribbled onto a piece of paper. And once we actually outline our thoughts into a coherent structure, we can learn to truly embody our argument until it becomes a part of us. At that point we won’t even need that piece of paper anymore.
The author also invites us to reveal our weaknesses beforehand because when we let others know about our flaws early on it shows honesty and integrity, but if the opposing party reveals it we lose all credibility. By revealing all of our weaknesses and speaking with truth, the other side loses many options to attack our arguments.
To also have a winning mindset is of upmost importance. If we do not truly believe in our argument or our opinion of something beforehand, we can concede to defeat that much easier. The author tells us to eliminate the idea of “trying” from our dictionary. By trying gives us the option to fail. But once we replace the word “trying” with the word “winning,” can we actually have the winning mindset and to have no doubt in what we believe in. And how can we lose if we don’t allow us the possibility of losing?
Not only does he refer to arguing inside the courtroom or when it comes to politics, but also inside the family and when it comes to loved ones as well. However when it comes to arguing with our loved ones or our family, we must learn to lose. It may sound a little contradictory to the title of the book, but it advocates the idea of losing to loved ones and focusing on love for the greater good. Our loved ones are not perfect and they may have flaws, and we have to learn how to submit to them every once in a while to bring them happiness. We might hate that chick flick we are going to watch with our girlfriend, but why argue about something that isn’t a huge deal and that will bring her happiness?
We must also consider the idea of prejudice when it comes to arguing. The author used a great metaphor which alluded to prejudice being like a bunch of junk in your mind, without any room to fit anything else in there. So if a person is prejudiced to a certain argument or idea, it can be almost impossible to win that person over. For example, imagine telling a lumberjack about saving the forests. He will just look at you and scoff and tell you that if he doesn’t chop down trees his family cannot eat. It will be very difficult in uncovering the veil of prejudice from his eyes, but it is still possible. If you present him with a different job opportunity that will be much safer to his health and will have the same pay, you can sway his thoughts on the idea of saving the forests.
I don’t want to make this post too long so I’ll end it here. I’ll divide the rich knowledge I have learned with you guys in a few more posts. So never underestimate the power of your words and more importantly, the heart behind it!