We spend quite a bit of time in our lives trying to persuade or convince others of our point of view, but how can we change someone else’s mind? How can we win an argument and how can we convince or persuade others?

Reality is that sometimes people disagree. But it can be one of life’s most frustrating situations when we can’t seem to come to common ground. While some people go to great lengths to avoid conflict of any kind, others seem to be ready to argue at a moment’s notice.

Most people are somewhere in between, which means you don’t like to argue, but you are prepared to do so when it becomes necessary. The question is, how can you sway the argument your way. There is plenty of research on this topic and we put together the most important key tools that can help you to win any argument, whether that’s in your personal or professional life.

Here are our TOP 10 tips to win any argument.

#1 Convince with Confidence
If you want to win an argument, act like you already won it. Be concise, speak with confidence and don’t repeat yourself. Show your opponent that you truly know what’s right, right from the get go, even if you don’t have all the facts together, yet. While having all the facts is very helpful to support your stance, being convincing is even more important. Research shows that people believe a confident speaker more than one who is knowledgeable. Just look at politicians. They probably sometimes have no idea what they are saying, but they speak with such authority that it is believable. So the more you look like you know what you are talking about, the higher are your chances to win.

#2 Find the Best Evidence
Even if you are extremely confident, knowledge is still true power in an argument. The best thing you can do to come out on top is to prepare ahead of time and get loaded with answers so you can show your opponent that you know what’s what. Don’t make finding information a reactionary step, but be proactive and gather as much knowledge on the topics you know you like to argue about, so you are always prepared. Keep in mind, when you have good evidence, it’s a lot easier to support your point of view while countering another’s.

#3 Stay Calm and Courteous
You may have the intention to win the argument and prove the other person wrong, but you have to at least pretend to be respectful of their point of view. Even if it is something that is completely ludicrous or against your own beliefs. Keep in mind, losing your cool could mean that you lose the argument. You will never win if you fly off the handle and attack someone on a personal level because you will lose your credibility and with that lose the argument. Stay calm and collected, be courteous and listen to what the other person has to say without cutting them off mid-sentence.

#4 Stay on Topic
If the other person has some reasonable points, acknowledge them with caution. Keep in mind, when you dismantle every single point of the other person you will come across as stubborn and defensive. And remember, losing one battle doesn’t mean you’ll lose the whole war. If you give your opponent a little victory every now and then, you will coerce them into seeing your perspective in a much better light and see common ground. If your opponent manages to throw you off, stay on topic. Going off topic can make you seem defensive, destroys your credibility and only creates new arguments. Stay focused on the argument at hand and if you notice that your opponent is changing the subject, you know that you have struck a nerve.

#5 Have the Other Person Explain Their Thoughts First
When you feel like an argument is about to happen, ask the other person to thoroughly explain their thoughts first. This is a very important step to winning the argument. More often than not, they will be more than happy to jump right in, which gives you several advantages. You come across as agreeable and can disarm them, you hear what they have to say and can find their weaknesses and you give them the chance to mess up their arguments. After their explanation, summarize it back to them and then provide your counterpoints.

#6 Mirror the Other Person’s Body Language
Don’t be too obvious about it, but subtly mirroring the other person’s body language is a great way to gain their trust and with that make them more likely to listen to what you have to say. Try not to mirror every single body language movement of the other person because that will seem like you are mocking them. The key to making body language mirroring effective is to make it look easy and natural. Establishing a strong non-verbal agreement can be very helpful in the real negotiations of the argument.

#7 Lower Your Voice
Sure, your emotions may be going through the roof, but try not to raise your voice because it will send the other person into fight-or-flight mode and shuts them off from even considering your point of view. Be aware that fear or anger can weaken your arguments. Of course, be expressive and be passionate, but stay calm and collected and lower your voice. A lower tone of voice will make others more at ease and they start to trust you, which is key to getting people to be convinced of your point of view.

#8 Keep Your Emotions Under Control
Of course, emotions can be a big part of any conflict or argument, but if you want to win the argument, you have to be able to keep your emotions under control. Losing your temper will only antagonize the other person, which will escalate the situation and won’t do anyone any good. Keep in mind, when you stay calm and collected, you will show that you have the ability to exercise self-control and if you both can take a more reasoned perspective, you may be able to end the argument right then and there.

#9 Identify Common Ground
Winning an argument is a lot easier if you can maintain a positive environment throughout the argument. Make it a point to identify common ground and point out things that you and your opponent actually agree upon. This will make the other person more likely to listen to the things where you don’t agree and you may even be able to convince them to accept your point of view.

#10 Change What Winning Means to You
Changing your perspective of what winning means to you opens up endless possibilities. You may not always be able to change another person’s mind, but winning can also mean that you resolve a conflict peacefully, getting the other person to admit that they were wrong about one point, not the whole topic, or giving in intentionally, because you care about the other person. Stop looking at arguments as wars, because nobody is the winner at a war and keep in mind, being right isn’t always the most important thing.

Sometimes getting into an argument can be frustrating or even intimidating. The good news is that there are ways to sharpen your skills and make them stronger so that you can stand your ground and win any argument. While you may not be able to actually win all arguments, you can definitely make people listen to your point of view and consider them.

Joschi & Monika