How to win without arguing

Want to convince others to accept your point of view over their own? Don’t engage in a shouting match. Instead of raising their defenses by attacking their
points of view, throw them off guard by agreeing with their viewpoint.

Example: A co-worker tells you that you let him down because you didn’t meet an internal deadline that you consider relatively unimportant. You could create a logical argument to convince your co-worker of that, but the co-worker is unlikely to abandon his position. So don’t argue.

Instead, say: “Yes, I understand what you mean. We did agree to finish that part of the report by Tuesday. I can appreciate what you are feeling right now.”
Why that works: You didn’t argue—you validated the other person’s point of view. At that point, your co-worker is likely to relax because you are not
being confrontational.

Next, offer a suggestion that meets both your and your co-worker’s needs. Example: “We both have the key facts and figures. Do you think we can skip the interim report and just sit down together to discuss what we know and what we need to include in the final report?”

Add these key words to fully win the other person to your point of view: “If you can’t do that, I understand.” Most likely, you will gain what you want. At the worst, you will open a productive discussion that results in a compromise that satisfies you both.

— Adapted from “First Agreement—Then (and Only Then) Persuasion,” Bob Burg,


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