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Debate Me – The Art of Changing Minds

This article will cover debate in its various instances in our lives. I’ll talk about how it affects our confidence and give you tips to rock your next debate. Finally, we’ll talk about how we gain confidence through our debate skills by recognizing 5 common logical fallacies.

Debate – The Ultimate Strategy

Debate is not for everybody. It’s confrontational. It’s intense. Outside of formal competition, people use it to defend their core values.

This article will cover debate in its various instances in our lives. I’ll talk about how it affects our confidence and give you tips to rock your next debate. Finally, we’ll talk about how we gain confidence through our debate skills by recognizing 5 common logical fallacies.

So read on, Donkey Kong!

If You Want To Be Confident, Be Wrong

If you want to be confident – be wrong. Think about it – have you ever got tangled in your own argument? Ever contradict yourself?

Let’s talk about why. A few weeks ago we talked about why we get flustered in conversation – and the same thing happens when we argue! It’s because we focus on the wrong things. We focus on the technique of being correct.

Folks, debate is not about being right…

It’s about making our arguments airtight by exposing them to opposition! THAT’S the strategy. That’s the bread in the pudding, ya dig? Being right is just a technique we use to see if we are on the right track.

An Opinion Holds No Value If It Has Not Been Exposed To Opposition

I went to a conference recently that was run by two very challenging people. And they showed me something I needed to address.

You see, my beliefs had not been challenged for a long time! I had not challenged them. My friends had not challenged them. My community had not challenged them. And for the few times they did I had brushed it off – shame on me. But hey, we learn right? So I started by picking up a books by somebody who I downright disagree with on just about everything.

And I encourage anybody who wants to be an effective communicator to do the same. Because an opinion that has not been tested by its opposition isn’t an opinion – it’s poison.

What Good Debate Looks Like

Let’s start with what poor debate looks like. In fact, I hardly need to write about it considering Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away! I kid. But do I?

In all seriousness, many times we hear arguments that miss the core of an issue. For instance, arguments that are based solely on personal experience. Or perhaps others that base the quality of the argument in the quality of the individual it stems from.

Such arguments generally come from those who resort illogical arguments. To help you recognize these I’ve compiled a list of the ones I most commonly come across. They are known as logical fallacies.

The Top 5 Logical Fallacies and How To Counter Them

  1. The False Dilemma – Ever have somebody tell you it’s either “A” or “B”? When we force people to extremes, it’s easy to undermine their argument. When the picture isn’t black and white but your partner is forcing you into a false dilemma call them on it.
  2. Middle Ground – On the flip side, just because its an extreme statement doesn’t mean it’s not true. Middle ground fallacy believes the truth to be in compromise. While this is nice, it’s not always true.
  3. Anecdotal Evidence – In short, just because it happened to one person doesn’t mean it applies to all. If you catch somebody using their own experience to justify their argument, it’s an indicator that they may not be researched on the matter.
  4. Burden of Proof – Ever get in an argument when somebody says, “name a time when “x” happened”? This is burden of proof. While evidence will strengthen your case, a lack of it doesn’t mean an argument never happened.
  5. Ad Hominem – Just because somebody is loud, ugly, smells bad, or falls into a different category than you, doesn’t mean they are incapable of knowing what they are talking about. When somebody refutes and argument because of the characteristics of the person it came from, they probably don’t have much of a counter argument.

If you want more of these, check out this list from Purdue!

To Wrap Up

If you know you are wrong, that just means finding out why and seeing if what you believe still falls into line with what you’ve learned.

I am going through this myself – EVERY SINGLE DAY. Recently I have become lazy, and it has affected my quality of life. I am making a commitment once again to try to prove myself wrong every single day.

So if you want to be confident – be wrong.



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