How To Argue Like A Professional
Start writing a post

How To Argue Like A Professional

A collection of tips to argue, whether you need to write a persuasive paper or win a debate, here is how to calmly prepare your point of view.

How To Argue Like A Professional

There are lots of debates involved in our conversations today. It is a major part of how we decide who to elect in government positions. It's involved in our discussions of political or spiritual views. It can even be found as we discuss what to eat for dinner. As debating maintains its role in the way we interact, it is necessary to understand how to debate. We need to know how to frame arguments, and not just when we speak, but when we write. There are multiple ways to frame ideas, and share an opinion, and below are the ways you can do so well.

First, we need to address why this is even important. Who cares if you can share ideas well, as long as you're sharing ideas. People will know what you mean, right? No. There are consequences for a poorly executed argument. People may get defensive, stop listening altogether, or simply not understand your point. A bad argument is one that the ideas expressed don't support the conclusion you are explaining. This can mean that your points are unrelated, not well ordered, false, or may not do the job they need to.

I'm going to start with the good 'ol debate of facts. You are trying to explain a concrete objective truth and someone doesn't believe you. What should you do? First, make sure what you are saying is actually true. You need to be able to calmly and clearly show what steps led you to the conclusion you are sharing. This cause creates this effect, and therefore this is effected. Think back to "if-then" statements in school. There is a cause (or are causes) and an effect(s). Make sure that these are actually connected.

Once you have confirmed that your reasons do, in fact, support your conclusion, examine the way you are sharing these ideas. You may strongly believe something is true but if you are doing certain things, you'll wreck your argument where it stands. One of the things I have seen often is a comparison of an extreme example to support a claim.

There's a particular example that comes to mind from a story comedian John Mulaney tells about his father. While sitting at the dinner table discussing their school day, Mulaney mentions watching some kids push his brother off of the seesaw. When asked why he did nothing, he says that he was over on the bench. As a response, Mulaney's father asks if it was OK that those who were alive in World War II, who saw what the Nazi's were doing to the Jews, did nothing to help. John says "Of course that's not OK!" Mulaney's father then asks how he is any better than a Nazi. That's a rather extreme comparison, and it may sound funny considering it was shared during a comedy special, but this is an approach many people take in a conversation. It is not productive, and it doesn't quite effectively communicate what point you're trying to make.

So your argument is true and you're not using an extreme example to support it. Now what? There's another easy tip to follow. Be concise. Whether you are speaking or writing, you want your argument to be clear and to the point. If you are overly wordy, then you'll over complicate the matter and confuse people more than allow them to understand you. Say what you want to say. Be clear. Then stop.

That is how you would put your argument together, but if all we had to do in our communications is put words together, things would be so much simpler and this argument would not be necessary. Particularly in face-to-face discussions, multiple factors come into play and it has more involved than simply word choice (This is not to disregard the importance of word choice, it is simply to point out that there is more to consider). Two other factors that play a major role in communication is tone and body language, and they are very easy to forget. Next time you watch a debate, pay attention to the way those involved sound throughout. Do they get loud? Are they more snappish, or rude? Do they seem like they are trying to constantly change points they make to fit against something the opponent has said? This, and more, shows poor communication techniques. That is how you go from sharing ideas, to arguing about them for the sake of the argument. A debate goes best when those involved remain calm, and remain open to what the other person is saying.

In addition to listening to tone, watch the way people move in a discussion. People who are arguing unproductively may cross their arms, or position themselves in a way that faces away from whomever they are speaking to. They may also gesture wildly, or have certain facial expressions as they talk or listen. It is important to note your own body language in a discussion as well. For example, listening with your arms crossed and a blank expression sets a specific tone for the one speaking. You seem disinterested, or inattentive, and you create a barrier between yourself and another person. Closing yourself off physically in a conversation can lead to irritation on the other side of the conversation, as well as lead to defensiveness or an over explanation so they feel heard.

These are only a few tips to help strengthen your arguments, but as you write, or speak, consider these things. However you adjust these factors, you'll find people responding in a certain way, and you may find patterns not mentioned above or elsewhere.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Today is Bisexuality Day and I'm more than ready to give all the bisexuals some love by breaking the stigma. I see you, I hear you, I appreciate you.

Bisexuliaty is a sexual orientation where people can form attraction and/or relationships to more than one gender. More than half of the LGBTQ+ community identifies as bisexual but it comes with a ton of bias, discrimination, and violence. And, honestly, bisexuals tend to be forgotten becuase bi-erasure wants to hold onto biphobia to question the existence and legitimacy of bisexuality.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Couples Get Real About Canceling Their Dream Weddings Because Of COVID-19

"It definitely reinforced that as long as we have each other, we can make it through anything together."

Courtesy of Georgia & Mike Bernstein

There isn't one person the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hasn't affected. While COVID-19 is risking everyone's physical health, it's also destroying the world's economy and personal finances, weakening mental health, wreaking havoc on education... and, well, the list goes on.

Among the many things being impacted is love.

Keep Reading... Show less

A Couple's Wedding In Peru Was Postponed By COVID-19, But A Lifetime Of Love Is Worth The Wait

"We'd prefer to wait and have the wedding that both of us have always thought of."

Courtesy of Rory Semple

During their first semester at Instituto de Empresa (IE Business School) while working on graduate degrees in Madrid, Spain, soon-to-be-newlyweds Rory and Gigi met when they were placed in a workgroup together — and the rest was history. Now, four years after their relationship began, the couple's fall plans to get married in Perú, where Gigi is originally from, have since been postponed by COVID-19.

Though things haven't always been easy for the pair because of immigration, starting a skincare business together, and now, canceling their dream wedding because of the pandemic, they have always worked together as a team (maybe we should all be in a workgroup with our future spouses).

Keep Reading... Show less

A Bumble Couple's Wedding Was Canceled By COVID-19, But Nothing Could Come Between This Perfect Match

"The whole purpose of all the stress and time and tears was that we love each other and that was all that mattered."

Courtesy of Shanna and Kaihla

Shortly after Kaihla's sister made her a dating profile on Bumble (despite her fear of being catfished), she matched with Shanna, and their chemistry was quickly undeniable. So much so that only a month and a half into dating, Shanna told her best friend "I think I'm going to marry her," and eventually, the nonprofit worker and elementary PE teacher duo proved this to be true.

In the fourth episode of a new docuseries called "Pandemic Weddings" by SoulPancake, the couple opens up about how they met, the difficulties of canceling a non-refundable wedding of their dreams (that took a year and a half to plan), as well as the pain of having family members who didn't support their marriage use the pandemic as a convenient excuse not to come.

Keep Reading... Show less
Bobbie Hall

This fall was my boyfriend and I's two-year anniversary! In the past for special occasions, we've typically gone out for a movie and dinner or just did something fun in general. However, in the year of COVID, we didn't really feel safe doing something like that.

Instead, we wanted to try something new that kept us significantly more socially distanced. Luckily, I found a TikTok trend a few months ago that gave me the perfect idea! The Target TikTok trend blew up all over for couples and friends alike. It seemed like a fun activity for us but also a good way to get each other gifts that we might not have thought about.

Keep Reading... Show less

If there's one thing everyone's talking about right now, it's voting — in real life, on social media, and yes, even on dating apps.

And rightfully so! Because is there really anything sexier than someone who cares about using their voice to be the change they want to see? In my opinion, no... not much, honestly.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tai Adaya

Any medium- to dark-skinned woman knows how difficult it can be to find the right SPF. Most mass-market SPF products are catered to lighter skin tones, and the potent UV-blocking titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have a way of leaving an unflattering white or grey cast on the skin.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Fall Fashion Trends Every Stylish Closet Needs This 2020 — Here Are Options For EVERY Budget

Whether you're on a budget or willing to splurge, you can attain the perfect fall wardrobe with these pieces!


Even if the only time you're leaving the house is to go to the grocery store, I'm a firm believer in getting dressed up to make yourself feel better. With these trends, your Insta feed (and followers) will be thanking you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Florida Residents, Here Is Your Step-By-Step Guide For Registering To Vote

Every state is different, so get familiar with your county's regulations early!


The 2020 presidential election is coming up fast and it's important now more than ever to know the resources available to voters. With COVID-19, this election looks a bit different this year — mail will be slower, and polls will have longer lines and more health and safety regulations. Because of this, knowing where to register if you haven't already, checking your registration status, and requesting a vote-by-mail ballot is crucial information to be aware of.

Each state has different links and different websites, so this information primarily pertains to Florida residents.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments