How to make debates positive and meaningful

David Ideström
Dec 23, 2016 · 2 min read

Did you use to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart?

While he has other commendable traits, I think we could learn a lot from his communication skills.

Watch the beginning of this clip with Jon and Fox News political commentator Bill O’Reilly:


Notice the way he establishes a friendly relation between himself and Bill.

Right from the beginning there is some whimsicality, which may be a great way of taking the edge off any tensions that may be there initially.

And Jon always does this, he establishes and consolidates this friendly relation before getting into any debate or discussion.


What is the result of this groundwork of his?

A much more constructive debate, a debate in which it is possible to consider viewpoints and try to build something out of them.

You’ll see in the clip how Bill, as a consequence of Jon listening to him, also lets Jon speak and explain his train of thought before breaking in.

As a consequence of this friendly climate, Bill makes concessions which he would usually not have made.

And Jon may have learned from Bill also.

All in all, a positive climate, some collaboration and learning opportunities are to be gained from this.


So there it is, the takeaway from Jon is to establish and consolidate a friendly relation before getting into a debate.

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Thanks to Coach.me

David Ideström

Written by

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade