Friday, September 25, 2009

Fake it or Break it: It's Up to You.

What happens when you get into an argument with another person? Do you discuss the problem? Or do you throw your PlayStation out the window?

This was the question of our last class. Each of us took ten to fifteen minutes and wrote about a memorable argument we had with another person. Then we went around the room, told our stories, and talked about the methods used in each argument. Here's what we came up with.

How to Argue with People and WIN

Start with points of agreement. Get the other side thinking that you guys are BFFs. It will be much easier to convince someone who already likes you.

State facts that prove your argument true.

Give examples to support your point. Illustrate scenarios.

Use logic. Brie gave a great example, proving her argument that pit bulls are unfairly stereotyped as violent. She pointed out that dogs need to be raised, just like people. If an owner raises a dog to be violent, that's the owner's fault, not the dog's.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Use the opinions and words of experts to support your argument. But also be informed on the other side. Know what they will say before they say it.

Counterargue. Point out flaws made by the other side. Think of how the rappers battle in the Eminem movie, 8 Mile. Show the other side's mistakes. Then explain why you are right where the other side is wrong.

Analyze the topic at hand. Point out aspects of the topic that help prove your argument true. Ryan gave the great example of trying to prove that organized religion is still a strong facet in many people's lives. He said, "Look at all the people going to church on Sundays and participating in church groups."

Talk about what's going on RIGHT NOW. Discuss the latest news on your topic. Explain how your argument is keeping up with the changing times.

Use emotion, but don't go overboard. Let's go back to the pit bull argument. A moving description of the inhumane treatment of pit bulls may sway some readers. Getting too sentimental or angry, as we saw in the Wal-Mart essay, can push people away.

Don't attack the other side. Back when Bush was president, it was common for people to say: "Bush is a bad president. He's an idiot." Whether either statement is true or not, calling Bush an idiot doesn't prove that he was a bad president!

Remember your audience. Think about what points would sway your opponent and/or audience. Use words they will understand. The minute you start talking over them, you lose them.

We admit it. Anger can be a strong motivator. Afterwards, we get a rush. Like J.J. said in class: Flying off the handle is a great release. But whether arguing out loud or on paper, we have to think of other people too. Eventually someone comes into the room and asks what happened to the PlayStation.

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