Men Are Often Capable Of Greater Things Than They Perform
Both in day-to-day life and professional life there are situations when you have to prove your point. In other words, in some situations you are required to argue in order to make an impact on the people around you. But you have to be careful in judging the situation and decide whether your argument is going to yield any result. Do not argue for argument’s sake only. It is better to look for other ways out if the situation for argument is not appropriate. If you have a clear goal and the situation is appropriate, you should keep in mind that your approach to the argument is such that there is hardly any chance of your failure. You have to first decide that your subject is quite known to you and you have sufficient facts and figures to hand to back up the premises you intend to introduce. You should be acquainted with the people whose ideas and opinions you are contesting. Personalities and reputations go a long way. Never forget that a truth should not be the subject of argument, because facts are thought to be proofs in themselves.
An appropriate moment for argument is one when you feel composed and calm. If you are agitated, you cannot argue and your bad temper will project you as a spoilsport. The great writer, G. K. Chesterton has said, “People generally quarrel because they cannot argue”. Always listen to other people attentively, trying to make out every idea expressed by them. This will lend you an opportunity to prepare your premises. Listening patiently and attentively to others is called “active listening”. By practising active listening you can follow up with questions to confirm other persons’ points of view. It will help you a lot in putting forward your own views. You should always separate the issues of the problem and possible solution. Develop the habit of questioning generalisations. Lots of poor arguments break down when assumptions are challenged. But you should challenge assumptions in a clever way. By doing this, you will be able to avoid getting into a virtual quarrel. Everybody will try to establish his/her argument. Sometimes by noise and help on other occasions, by command, though his/her argument will not be accompanied by reason. Michel de Montaigne has rightly said—”He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak”.
In course of your argument, with facts and figures at your fingertips, you will find that it is getting easy for you to summarise. While arguing, summarise as frequently as you can. It helps you gather your thoughts in the proper manner. If you gather your thoughts according to the requirement, you at once become able to keep argument moving at a reasonable pace. It also helps you to focus on the issues involved and the likely outcome. Actually, you engage in a argument in the hope of a positive outcome. Without any aim, you cannot continue any argument up to the desired point. In the words of Jawaharlal Nehru—”Action to be effective must be directed to clearly conceived ends.” Never forget that you have to reach a fruitful point. To achieve your goal, never get bogged down by a mistake. If the other person points out that one of your statements is wrong, accept the fact graciously and move on. Never make it personal, otherwise you will lose track of the issue or problem. Avoid attacking anybody personally, in order to make your argument effective always use simple and unambiguous language. Your points should be always clear and simple if you want to have high impact.
If you succeed in your attempt, it will not only give you satisfaction, but will also encourage you to have such opportunity again. “Men are often capable of greater things than they perform”, Horace Walpole has opined.
Wishing you victory in every healthy argument,
(Surendra Kumar Sachdeva)
ARGUMENT MUST NOT END IN QUARREL
ALWAYS GATHER FACTS AND FIGURES