It’s definitely not a good feeling when you get into an argument with someone knowing that you are correct, but burning inside yourself from the fact that the other side just doesn’t get the point. A Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy suggests an alternative to dealing with people who disagree with you. According to her, the best thing to do when you’re in a position of power is to listen. The power of listening is giving a chance for the other side to express his/her thoughts completely, empty out all the information and feelings he/she has towards it. Giving enough time to the other side also gives you a chance to try to understand why he/she makes such assumptions. The mutual understanding between you and the other person will engage both sides into the same boat. “When you walk into those situations that have a lot of conflict in them,” Cuddy says, “the first thing to do is to be present enough to allow the other person to speak first. You’re not giving power away; you’re actually allowing them to feel seen and understood.” As the relationship guru John Gottman says, you’re allowing the two of you to kick around the problem like a soccer ball.
If the other person is saying something objectionable, “I think you have to bite your tongue. I do. I think you have to wait,” Cuddy says. “First of all, when you respond in that moment of anger you’re not going to respond well. And if you let them get through it, you’re going to get a little more information about what that is really about. Maybe then you do pause and say, “I need to step away from this for a moment.”
Argument is really not about belittling someone or making others feel ashamed or lost. Only having such attentions will make you the loser even though your argument sounds reasonable. Keeping your voice at a lower level will also help to avoid any burst outs between the sides. As social acitivist and bishop in South Africa Desmond Tutu said, “don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” Analyze all the information brought up during the argument and go towards the solution and not convincement. This could be your winning card to a successful end of a defeatable argument.