Increasingly, this generation’s most decisive issues are not being discussed in the decadent halls of rundown parliamentary buildings, but rather indirectly, via social media platforms, blogs and youtube. Ironically, this has meant that the fire and brimstone of head-to-head debate is back.
It is the duty of every gentleman to have an opinion and be able to fight for it. To help you in the art of argument, here is a basic guide to getting your point across so others listen.
1. Use gestures to reinforce your argument
The majority of communication, even during debate, goes unseen and if your words don’t betray what you don’t know, then your hands often will. The mediocre speaker will try and keep their hands out of the conversation, but the best debaters have always found a way of reinforcing any point with their presence. Having said this, try and avoid holding paper, pretending to hold imaginary breasts or playing with the face. Instead, try a fixed power pose, to mirror the position of the legs.
2. Know when to fall silent
Sometimes silence can be as powerful as noise, especially when the noise is not constructive. Instead of trying to fight someone talking over you, go silent, but when it is your turn to talk again lean into your point with a long bout of silence. Your point will grow and find weight that it may not even deserve.
3. Don’t be afraid to show your passion
The best in the business can find that indignant and pissed off gear that elevates their remark to a point of intellectual and moral superiority. However, these same people also know that timing is everything; so don’t give it all away in one go. A swear word, held back and then effectively deployed, can win an argument – sad but true. This higher gear goes hand in hand with being passionate about your side, even if it is an adopted one.
4. You may have to subtly change your argument
There will always be someone with a better memory for quotation than you and there will always be someone smarter than you, but remember, the true winners of any debate are those that can prove not that their side of the motion is correct, rather that the other side is incorrect. This might mean that you will have to change tact halfway, once you realise you cannot trap or out-quote your rival. In that case your rhetoric must be devastating and unanswerable in its deployment.