Argue Better

For my sins, no doubt, as faithful readers of this blog know, I have been an attorney for 35 years.  The below video is a fascinating look at the Cathy Newman “interview” of Jordan Peterson in which he made her look like an absolute fool:



From my time in court, and from being a paid advocate in general, here is a few additional tips for winning an argument:


1.  Listen carefully to what your opponent is saying.  Sounds simple but most people do not do it, too wrapped up in what they are going to say.

2.  Restate what the other person says if what they are saying helps your position, especially if they do not know the import of what they are saying.

3.  Make your opponent deal in concrete situations, and do not allow them the refuge of vague abstractions.

4.  Keep your emotions in check, especially if your adversary gets emotional.

5.  Be as concise as you can be.

6.  Be unafraid of thinking before saying something.

7.  If you can, plan out the argument in advance.  Most people can’t plan well to save their souls, at least when it comes to arguments.

8.  Figure out what it will take to win the argument and work backward from that point.

9.  Do not be distracted by red herrings and the other types of false arguments that people tend to be fond of.

10. When you have won the argument, move on.  You have usually won a point, not the battle of Waterloo.  There is more to do, so be about it.