Making progress in your career means finding a careful balance between personal drive and team spirit. On the one hand, you’re ambitious, full of ideas, and you want to prove to the world that you deserve a shot at success.
On the other hand, nobody likes a show-off or a know-it-all. And nobody wants to work with someone who lacks any sense of humility. From a job interview scenario to an office confrontation, how can you make your point without seeming arrogant?
The good news is that arguing in an effective way won’t just win you the argument. It will improve your powers of judgment and of collaboration.
Arguing successfully requires techniques that you might not consider in the heat of the moment, which is why it is a skill worth considering in advance.
This argument toolkit includes ideas like research, empathy, and compromise, as well as more technical strategies such as body language, voice control and tactical use of syntax.
For example, listening to and trying to understand your colleague’s point of view, instead of just waiting for the chance to bombard them with your own, can help you to illuminate flaws in their logic. And to build more sense into your own.
Asking for agreement (‘don’t you think?’) on parts of your own case that are indisputable, can help you to form collaborative chemistry, which you can then exploit during the less mutually intuitive moments of your statement.
An aggressive posture or personal attacks on your opponent are just likely to make them more defensive. If they cave in just to get you off their back, the battle may be won. But hearts and minds will be lost.
If you really want to succeed in your career, you need to convince your colleagues that you’re inspiring to work with and that it is your ideas that are strong rather than your overbearing personality.
Whatever your disposition in the workplace, you’ll find plenty of tactics to help you convince your peers that you know best in this guide.