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A better way to argue!
You know that arguing with someone is not easy. Many of us prefer to avoid discussions with different-minded people in the first place, or we are desperate to try and convince them. There is, however, a different way!
Scientifically recommended method
In a recent edition of the magazine Zeit (nr.39/2018), the dossier contains an extensive article about the topic of arguing. It describes a study by Prof. Coleman, leader of the Difficult Conversations Lab at the Columbia-University in New York.
In Coleman’s lab, political opponents argued hundreds of times about topics like abortion, euthanasia or death penalty. Many discussions soon turned out to become personal, some of them escalated. Others remained surprisingly constructive and ended in a compromise.
Coleman and his team noticed that there were more questions asked in those discussions. The test people were curious and put themselves in the opponents‘ place. Sometimes they said, “Wait a moment, just to be sure that I understand correctly, you mean that …“ Then they repeated the opposing position, and whenever there was anything they had understood incorrectly, they readjusted it, until the other one said “yes, exactly.“
Scouting – not easy, but effective
A scout asks questions and tries to uncover the motive that lies behind an objection.
This is a very effective technique, which, however, is not easy. You need to practice it in order to really be able to use it in a debate.
This means for you
If you want to find a better way to argue, scouting is a wonderful technique. Of course, this technique alone will not suffice. But it is a first step towards de-escalation. Try it out!
You will learn further techniques in our training Powertalk.