How to learn to argue and defend your opinion - practical advice

Authoritarian parents usually raise children who do not have their own opinions, children who cannot make an independent decision without the consent of mom or dad. In adolescence, such a child falls under the influence of a strong leader and “looks into his mouth.” People who cannot defend their point of view do not advance in their careers, and in family life they fall under the influence of their significant other.

Some people are satisfied with this position in life, others decide for them. But this means that they agree to live “according to orders” and may not achieve what they could achieve. People face the need to defend their views every day. From the banal: what to cook for breakfast, to protecting the company’s strategic development plan.

Standing up for yourself, listening to others, and not obeying other people’s instructions, these are the qualities that an adult should cultivate in himself, if they have not been formed previously.

The main problem of people who do not know how to defend their opinion is lack of self-confidence. First of all, you need to deal with it.

Do you need to defend your opinion?

An interesting question, especially considering the fact that there are exactly as many opinions as there are people on the planet. And if someone simply silently adheres to their own, then others believe that they are always right in everything. And this despite the fact that their point of view is often unsubstantiated. Such individuals will argue until the last moment; it is not possible to convince them. Bernard Shaw said this about them: “Every person has the right to his own opinion, provided that it coincides with ours.”

There is clearly a fallacy in this behavior, since in some cases it is better not to force your opponent to change his mind, but to leave this conversation for later. But this is only one side of the coin. The other is related to the fact that in many situations, no more or less human life depends on the correct opinion.

It turns out that it is impossible to give a definite answer to the question of whether it is worth defending your point of view. It all depends on the circumstances.

Study the psychology of influencing people

If you want to learn how to defend your own point of view, then it’s time to start studying the psychology of influencing other people. You can manipulate your interlocutor using various psychological techniques. Each person has special unconscious points that can be pressed to force you to do whatever you want. If you are at least a little familiar with these methods, then you understand what we are talking about. Changing your point of view is only a small part of what can be achieved with such manipulation. Try to study more psychological literature on this matter and constantly look for the values ​​that they value in other people.

Is truth born in a dispute?

They say that this is exactly what Socrates believed. However, in fact, he touched on deeper points than the usual exchange of opinions in raised tones. The philosopher loved communicating with different people. He not only conveyed his opinion to them, but also received a lot of useful information himself. This ensured that no one was left upset, offended or aggressive. This is what the search for truth looks like. You not only prove that you are right, but also enrich yourself with the knowledge that your opponent has.

Socrates believed that the best way to find the most correct opinion is through dialogue. Moreover, you need to talk with one person, and not with a whole crowd.

What can be concluded? Truth is not born in a dispute, because in the process none of the disputants listens to what others say. Each person is 100% sure that he is right, and while his interlocutor expresses his opinion, he thinks about the answer.

An interesting thought was expressed regarding the dispute: “A dispute is the best way to bury alive the Beautiful Lady - the Truth.”

Choose the right moment and format

Perhaps speaking publicly in large companies, at conferences, during discussions and brainstorming sessions is not your thing yet. But this does not mean that you should remain silent. Try talking to your manager or colleague in person and conveying your thoughts to him. Or contact the person in writing - this is also a great option to present your point of view.

What techniques help you overcome shyness and confidently express your opinion? Feel free to share in the comments!

What skills are needed to defend your point of view?

So, how to learn to defend your opinion? There are several recommendations.

Self confidence

This character trait is difficult to develop. But if you try, you will succeed. Always keep these points in mind:

  1. Your life is in your hands. Parents, friends and anyone else should not be responsible for her. You are responsible for your actions and decisions. This means that you have every right to have your own opinion. You also have the right to defend it in cases where others unreasonably try to convince you or suppress you.
  2. Mistakes are not scary. It is part of your life experience that shows you how to behave or not behave in the future. Remember that whatever decision you made was the best for you at that particular moment in time. And even if it is wrong, there are no ideal people, right? And those who consider themselves such have also stepped on their own “rake” more than once.
  3. Your opinion is the most correct for you. Remember this. By exchanging it for someone else's, you begin to live the life of that person. Do you need it? People are unlikely to treat you any differently after this; you certainly will not become more important in their eyes. Agree, it is also unpleasant for you to communicate with those who always agree with others. So learn not to worry about people's opinions about you. Do not hesitate to actively participate in conversations, listen to your opponents, but do not allow them to humiliate you or persuade you to their point of view.

The story of your interlocutor about his rich experience in some matter can also deprive you of self-confidence. This is not an argument at all, because it was received in circumstances that you did not experience. Each of us has our own experience, sometimes different from others. And even if there is not as much of it as we would like. The main thing is that it was obtained by you thanks to your actions and decisions.


Here too we will talk about experience. Perhaps you are afraid to argue due to his absence. But think about the fact that many people stubbornly defend their point of view without having any evidence of correctness. No, they are not role models. Here the matter is different. A person who can prove his words with facts and arguments always takes a more advantageous position.

Support others

Perhaps there is a person in your environment who also finds it difficult to speak up and express themselves. Try to help him. Let's say at a meeting you notice that a colleague is trying, but cannot, to break into the conversation. Attract the attention of the other participants: “It seems that Masha wants to say something, let’s give her the floor.”

Or support the person if you see that it is difficult for him to speak and he is noticeably worried: “Yes, a great idea! I agree with you". This way you kind of share the excitement between two people and learn to be bolder.

Does aggression help in an argument?

Absolutely not. And there is a logical explanation for this:

  1. Your argumentation will decrease. It often happens that a person who runs out of facts and arguments simply starts shouting, getting personal.
  2. A quarrel with an opponent will not lead to anything good. It was said above that paying attention to the opinions of others about you is a waste of time. And so it is. But calmly and competently proving your point of view is one thing, but shouting and insulting is completely different.

Rules of Argumentation

Some believe that there should not be too many arguments, a maximum of 5-7. But D. Cacioppo and R. Petty proved that an increased number of evidence affects attitudes, but not at all because they are thought about. People simply use the representativeness heuristic - there are a lot of arguments, therefore, the truth of the message cannot be doubted, and as a result they make decisions. What should be noted is that a strong argument is followed by a weaker one, then a strong one again, etc. Strong arguments side by side outshine each other. But it is even more correct to use 3 arguments, although if there are not enough of them, then more are quite acceptable. To properly construct an argument, one more rule of arguments

, called "Homer's rule". The first argument is strong, then the middle one - and the final one is the strongest. In a speech, you can repeat this argument 2 times. This rule implies that it is better not to use weak arguments at all, since the listener or interlocutor will identify them and can use them against you.

Recommendations to help you defend your point of view

How else can you defend your opinion? Psychologists have identified a number of simple but effective tips.

Criticize the position, not the person

Do you think that during an argument your opponent is interested in your opinion about him, his appearance and other features? Hardly. He is only concerned with how to defend his position. Therefore, you should not throw sarcastic remarks and barbs. This will show your weakness and lack of arguments.

Be prepared to criticize constructively. You should have strong evidence in your arsenal that will instantly disarm your opponent.

Unlike stupid criticism of the person himself, a reasoned position will present you in a favorable light.

Use verified facts

Reliable information can drive your opponent into a dead end, even in cases where he is trying to piss you off with ridicule and barbs. And it is not necessary to give a lecture or retell scientific works. It is enough to provide a couple of links to research by well-known scientists in this field. If your interlocutor is an intelligent person, he will change his mind.

Present information clearly

This advice on how to defend your point of view is more relevant to disputes in the masses, for example, on social networks. When expressing your opinion, be as precise as possible. If possible, do not use specific terms, unusual expressions and puzzles. Otherwise, people simply won’t understand you. And if you do use a couple of incomprehensible words, immediately decipher them.

Be polite

Imagine two completely different people. The first one presents his point of view with dignity, using different forms of presenting information, verified facts and reasonable arguments. And the second one behaves like a small, constantly barking dog that is trying to attract the attention of others. Who do you think the audience will prefer? Of course, to the first person. In view of this, under any circumstances, behave with dignity and save face.

Be careful when quoting your interlocutor

Quoting your opponent’s words is always a big risk. Therefore, exercise caution. Do not take phrases out of context, do not add or remove individual words. Otherwise you will become a laughing stock. Better, using facts and arguments, prove your case step by step.

Psychologists recommend resorting to quoting only in cases where you are 100% sure that your opinion is correct and that you have arguments that will smash your opponent’s position to smithereens.

Learn to formulate your words succinctly

In order to have time for constructive criticism after the dialogue, you need to learn not only to defend your point of view, but also to formulate quite succinctly the thoughts that are born in your head. To do this, try to discard unnecessary phrases and concentrate on the main thing - those words that will make your interlocutor change his point of view. The easiest way is to write down the main and unconditional arguments for your position and start any dispute with them. If you manage to confuse your opponent from the very first words, then winning the argument will not be difficult. The most important thing is to formulate your speech competently, succinctly and clearly. Then it will seem to other people that your arguments on other issues will be no less convincing.

Be a little selfish

The habit of constantly sacrificing yourself and putting other people's interests above yours will ultimately lead to you starting to feel tired, dissatisfied, and accumulating resentment. Don’t expect those around you to suddenly see the light and definitely repay your kindness. We all look at the same things differently, so people may be nice to you but genuinely not notice your needs. Maintain healthy egoism within yourself. Learn to prioritize and take care of yourself, not just others.

Rules of Argumentation

The rules of argumentation are quite simple, but each of them has a different set of features. There are four rules in total:

Rule one

Use compelling, precise, clear, and simple terms. Keep in mind that persuasiveness is easily lost if the arguments presented are vague and abstract

Also take into account that in most cases people catch and understand much less than they want to show

Rule two

It is advisable to select the method of argumentation and its pace in accordance with the characteristics of your temperament (you can read about the types of temperament here). This rule assumes:

  • Evidence and facts presented individually are more effective than those presented together
  • A few (three to five) of the most striking arguments are more effective than many average facts
  • Argumentation should not take the form of a “heroic” monologue or declaration
  • With the help of well-placed pauses you can achieve better results than with a stream of words
  • Active rather than passive construction of statements has a greater impact on the interlocutor, especially when it is necessary to provide evidence (for example, the phrase “we will do it” is much better than the phrase “it can be done”, the word “conclude” is much better than the phrase “draw a conclusion” etc.)

Rule three

The argument should always appear correct. This means:

  • If a person is right, admit it openly, even if the consequences may be unfavorable for you.
  • If the interlocutor accepted any arguments, try to use them in the future
  • Avoid empty phrases that indicate a decrease in concentration and lead to inappropriate pauses to gain time or search for the thread of a conversation (such phrases can be: “it was not said”, “you can do it this way or that”, “along with this”, “otherwise speaking”, “more or less”, “as I already said”, etc.)

Rule four

Adapt your arguments to the personality of your interlocutor:

  • Build an argument taking into account your opponent’s motives and goals
  • Remember that so-called “excessive” persuasiveness can cause rejection from your opponent
  • Try not to use wording and expressions that make it difficult to understand and argue
  • Strive to present your evidence, considerations and ideas as clearly as possible, giving examples and comparisons, but remember that they should not diverge from the experience of the interlocutor, i.e. must be close and understandable to him
  • Avoid extremes and exaggerations so as not to arouse your opponent’s mistrust and cast doubt on your entire argument.

By following these rules, you will increase the attention and activity of your interlocutor, minimize the abstractness of your statements, link arguments much more effectively and ensure maximum understanding of your position. Communication between two people, when it comes to disputes and discussions, almost always occurs according to the “attacker-defender” pattern.

Obviously, you can end up in either the first or second position. Argument structures are also formed based on this principle.

Communication between two people, when it comes to disputes and discussions, almost always occurs according to the “attacker-defender” pattern. Obviously, you can end up in either the first or second position. Argument structures are also formed according to this principle.

Common mistakes

Psychologists note the following pattern: the more confident a person becomes, the worse he behaves: he criticizes others and sometimes even is rude. And the opposite situation: the more benevolent a person is, the less self-confidence she has.

In the first case, you risk making enemies for yourself, in the second - parasitic friends and fellow exploiters who, if possible, will use you.

A clear example of this is the main character of Gorky’s play “Woe from Wit,” Chatsky. The desire to impose a personal opinion on society, even a correct one, led to rejection of others, misunderstanding and loneliness. Try not to make gross mistakes when communicating with people, don’t let your confidence turn into arrogance.

What is wrong:

actively impose your personal opinion on others; listen only to yourself and not respect the opinion of your interlocutor; interrupt your interlocutor or intimidate him; shout, allowing negative emotions to control you; prove right to those who do not respect you and people with an inadequate psyche; express your opinion in a timid, quiet voice; remain silent when your opinion is asked.

Psychologists advise adhering to the rules of the golden mean, cultivating two qualities in yourself at the same time: a friendly attitude towards others and self-confidence. Then there will be no problems with communication, and expressing your opinion will become easy and simple.

Don't apologize when you ask for something

The plaintive “sorry” often replaces an address to the interlocutor or serves simply to connect words, but it has a specific meaning. You should not ask for forgiveness for expressing your opinion, request, or simply existing.

Talk about your problem and offer a solution - this way you will remain true to your boundaries and beliefs. By starting with an apology, you are deliberately putting yourself in a weak position. To stay polite, there are other wonderful words like “thank you” and “please.”

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