February 26, 2019
- Be attentive to the reasons someone might disagree with you. It isn’t enough to dwell on the strengths of your own position. Accept that an issue can have strong reasons on both sides.
- Rather than lead with your strongest arguments, start by interrogating those of your adversary.
- Establish a common set of foundational terms as quickly as possible. If you and your opponent can’t agree on some basic points -- that the earth revolves around the sun, for example – you will be less likely to come to a mutual understanding.
- Acknowledge the limitations of your position because sounding dogmatic detracts from your credibility, which can make your opponent less likely to engage.
- Be clear, but avoid flooding the other side with facts that can overwhelm decision-making. Ultimately, you don’t really convince people – people convince themselves.
- Mirror an opponent’s stance, keeping eye contact and lowering your voice. Keep in mind that the most important stance to take can be accepting when an argument doesn’t need to be had.
SOURCE: New York Times Magazine, 2/3/19