5 tips on how to win a conflict
Updated: Sep 14
It always happens at one point or another - someone has a different opinion than you. They want to do something in another way or perhaps they don't want to do anything at all while you want them to speed up. Conflicts are impossible to avoid, but not impossible to win. In this article, you’ll get some concrete tips on how to win your next battle of ideas.
Think about the consequences
First of all, you have to decide how important your relationship with the other person is. If it is one of your family members or your closest colleague at work, perhaps winning just isn’t worth it. Some relationships should be protected. If yours is one of those, focus more on resolving the issue than winning.
Know your facts
Just like in a debate, it’s essential to come prepared - you don't want to have to resort to using personal attacks to win the argument. That victory will never feel as good as the one you achieve by using your intelligence instead of your meanness.
Think about the issue carefully. Try and make a list in your head with all the points proving that your opinion is the right one. Also, think about what evidence you can come up with that shows the opposite and then list the counter-arguments you would use in case your opponent brings them up. This way you aren’t blindsided once it happens.
Another tip is to divide the points into different categories based on Aristotle’s theory about conviction. You want to make sure you cover all the three foundations: ethos (authority), pathos (emotion), and logos (logic). Make sure to mention your experiences, the emotional side of the issue, and, of course, the facts.
Be openminded or at least seem to be
Have you ever been in a situation where it felt like you were speaking to a wall instead of another person? Was it a nice experience? Probably not. After all, no one likes talking to somebody who never listens. To win the argument, it’s furthermore essential that they stick around. Therefore, take the other person’s perspective into account and try to at least seem openminded. Plus, by understanding your opponent you also have a greater chance of finding the weak points of what they are saying.
Keep your emotions in check
The last thing you want to do when you’re in the middle of a fight is to lose control over your temper because you thereby lose your credibility as well. Don't start yelling, have a neutral facial expression, and keep your body language peaceful. And if you start feeling yourself slipping - focus on your breathing and count to ten.
Try to create a win-win situation
The best end to any conflict is when all parties walk away and feel like they’ve won. Attempt to understand what’s most critical to your opponent and decide if that’s something you can sacrifice in return to get what you truly want. Very few disputes are, after all, solved without compromising at least a little bit.