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How to lead others to your way of thinking

Verbal brawling shows a lack of control and an inability to use those vital skills of persuasion. Managers must be able to present their particular point of view or to express an opinion on an issue without being too emotional or engaging in a bout of verbal fisticuffs. Here’s a peaceful way of persuading people to accept your line of thinking and ideas...

1. Avoid arguing with extremists.

Until you are shown otherwise, you must assume that others have some fairly good reasons for taking the position they do in any debate or argument. Indeed, most people are rational, so you can always hope to persuade them to accept your point of view. However, remember that, if someone is a fanatic to a cause, you’ll be unlikely to convince them.

2. Analyse your stance before you get involved.

Be convinced that the subject or issue is worth arguing about. Will you be going on the defensive or the offensive? Will it be worth the emotional effort?

3. Prepare your case in advance if you can.

If the opportunity arises, make ready for the discussion by considering the following:

  • Understand the issue clearly. If you don’t, you’re disadvantaged from the start.
  • Reflect on the issue and clarify your side of the argument.
  • Organise your thoughts. Tease out the issue. Jot down salient points.
  • Consider your opponent’s possible argument; build up ammunition to counter such views rationally.
  • Rehearse.

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