business skills http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13724/all en-US How to Win an Argument http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-an-argument <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-win-an-argument" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/argument.jpg" alt="Women arguing" title="Women arguing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>People often tell me that I should have been a lawyer. My friends avoid getting into debates with me at all costs, and I can't tell you how many times I've heard, &quot;I just can't win an argument with you.&quot; This is precisely why I pounced on the opportunity to write a post about how to win an argument. But when I sat down to write, I was overwhelmed with the number of bullet points I could include in an article about the art of persuasion and why it's a useful skill to have, both personally and professionally.</p> <p>You wouldn't necessarily use the same tactics to convince your boss that you deserve a raise as you would in an argument with a partner over whose turn it is to wash the dishes. And while your well-crafted argument that <em>Raising Arizona </em>is the Cohen brothers' best film may work on your friends, your informal style of rhetoric might not be as effective when demanding your money back at customer service.</p> <p>Of course, there are dozens of talking points for winning an argument I could include, but I knew there had to be a few fundamental elements that would span all categories of argumentation. Of all the advice you'll get about making a case for yourself, there are three basic points to remember. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-and-give-honest-feedback">How to Get and Give Honest Feedback</a>)</p> <h3>1. Don't Back Down</h3> <p>Confidence is the key to winning any argument. As British comedian <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwpuJoIvMyA">Eddie Izzard</a> says, only 10% of what people react to is what you actually say, and the rest of it is really a matter of how you look and sound. I don't know if his figure is completely accurate, but I do know that if you present your argument in a confident manner, people are more likely to listen to you and eventually agree with you. If you sound nervous or unsure of yourself, then your argument will sound weak before you even start making your case.</p> <p>The only caveat here is to remember that it isn't about who is right or wrong. Being confident means making a strong and clear case, not demanding that you are right and everyone else isn't. Make your claim and stick to it without dismissing other viewpoints, which leads me to the next major element of winning an argument...</p> <h3>2. Listen to Your Opponent</h3> <p>Any Debate Team coach will tell you that knowing the other side of the argument is essential to winning the debate. How can you make counterpoints if you don't know what your opponent's argument will be? You can't always know exactly what your opponents will argue in response, but you can usually predict what their major points will be. This also means listening to your opponents as they make their claims.</p> <p>For example, when I was discussing which points to include in this article with a friend, she suggested, &quot;Yeah, don't back down, and don't second-guess yourself.&quot; I argued that both of those statements were really saying the same thing. &quot;No they aren't,&quot; she said. &quot;Yes they are,&quot; I said calmly, remembering that remaining calm is also part of maintaining confidence in an argument. So I <em>calmly</em> listened as she made her rebuttal, &quot;No, what I meant by second guessing is not to have any doubts or change your mind during the argument, no matter what.&quot; I smiled wryly. &quot;In other words,&quot; I said, &quot;don't back down.&quot; She nodded and laughed, &quot;Touche.&quot; I &quot;won&quot; because I stood my ground, and I listened carefully to her and used her own statements to finally prove my point.</p> <h3>3. Use Logic and Factual Evidence</h3> <p>This final point is perhaps best illustrated by one of the most brilliant and popular rhetoricians of our time, <em>The Daily Show </em>host Jon Stewart. Even if you aren't a fan of his comedy and commentary, you have to admit that he uses logic in a way that is both convincing and appealing to his audience.</p> <p>Here's what Jon Stewart does well that can be applied to all types of arguments:</p> <ul> <li>He repeats examples in a way that drives the point home, such as showing several major news clips to demonstrate the absurdities in mainstream media.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He finds flaws in his opponents' arguments, and even if he has a team of writers to help him research, he is good on his feet.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>He can admit when he's wrong; see the recent <a href="http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-june-21-2011/fox-news-false-statements">battle over the Chris Wallace interview</a> on Fox News for a great example of this.</li> </ul> <p>Even if you are one of those people who says you don't like to argue, remember that getting what you want in life isn't about the argument. It's really about how you state what you want; and if you are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sound-more-confident-in-one-easy-step">confident</a>, a good listener, and logical, you can't lose.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-win-an-argument">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-say-no-to-friends-and-family">5 Ways to Say &quot;No&quot; to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-feel-better-fast">25 Ways to Feel Better Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-are-what-you-do-16-ways-to-improve-your-body-language">You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today">25 Ways to Communicate Better Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Personal Development business skills communication talking Wed, 29 Jun 2011 10:24:28 +0000 Ashley Watson 592333 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Signs You Shouldn't Be a Business Owner http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-signs-you-shouldnt-be-a-business-owner <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/10-signs-you-shouldnt-be-a-small-business-owner" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/10-signs-you-shouldnt-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/10-signs-you-shouldnt-be-a-business-owner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000001663557Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="178" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thinking about starting your own business? Take a moment to read the signs. While no single sign here guarantees failure, any one of them will certainly make success in business much more difficult than it already is. The good news, however, is even if you see yourself in this list, you can overcome any of these traits of ineffectiveness. You can rewrite your signs.</p> <p>The essential requirement is to be honest with yourself. If you find that you're nodding in agreement, step back and work on improving in those areas first, then tackle business ownership later.</p> <p><strong>1. You can't make decisions.</strong></p> <p>Making decisions doesn't mean you need to make every single decision (that's what we call micromanaging) or that you have to deliberate for hours over the ones you do make (that's what we call procrastinating), or that you have to make decisions following a certain procedure or managerial methodology. But you have to be able to make the call, one way or another, move that decision into action, and then deal with what happens as a result of that action, good or bad.</p> <p>An indecisive leader isn't leading, but wasting time, trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has passed on by. In business, taking too long to make a decision on how to proceed means you lose the chance to proceed.</p> <p><strong>2. You won't take responsibility.</strong></p> <p>If you're known among friends and family as the Master Excuse Maker, don't open a business, at least not until you get a handle on being the one who doesn't invent excuses but takes responsibility. The fun thing about being a business owner is that you get to be in charge; and the worst thing about being a business owner is that you have to be in charge, hence, the bottom line depends on you.</p> <p>No matter whose fault a mistake is, as the head of your business, you have to own everything that goes on in your business, bad and good. An unhappy customer doesn't want to hear about why it's your employee's fault. An unhappy investor doesn't want to hear about why the economy didn't turn out the way you expected it to. Learn to claim responsibility for what happens in your life before you jump into owning a business.</p> <p><strong>3. Your only motivation is money.</strong></p> <p>Certainly you can get rich as a business owner; many people have. Many (more) people have also lost money attempting to start and run businesses. If you aren't in it for more than the money, you'll find your motivation wavering. Building a successful business takes time, usually a long time. Failure is part of the process. You have to have an internal motivation, a desire to succeed, an intrinsic ambition or motivation that moves you forward even without the fat paycheck.</p> <p><strong>4. You swing between extremes.</strong></p> <p>If your moods have two points on the psychological map, one being &quot;extremely depressed&quot; and the other being &quot;unrealistically optimistic,&quot; then you're in for a rough ride as a business owner. The ability to keep an even keel will help you deal with the challenges you'll face as a business owner. If a minor setback can take you down into depression, you might not be equipped to run a business.</p> <p>You've also got to be able to temper your excitement and enthusiasm and look at possibilities from a realistic angle. Extreme emotional pendulum swings will mean that investors won't take you seriously, employees will run away in terror, and customers won't know what to do with you, so they just won't do anything.</p> <p><strong>5. You can't overcome chronic disorganization.</strong></p> <p>Piles of paper on your desk, and you can never find the one you want? Never quite got that filing system set up? Is it your habit to live in clutter and disorder and simply try to survive despite the problems it causes? Are you perpetually late paying bills because you don't have an efficient system?</p> <p>These kind of <i>dis</i>-organizational habits can doom your fledgling business. No, you don't have to be an alphabetized, color-coded, organizing wizard; you do have to be able to operate efficiently and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.</p> <p><strong>6. You have no track record of completion.</strong></p> <p>If your past is a manuscript of opening paragraphs without any conclusions, you need to step back from the business arena until you've proved that you can take an idea from initial spark to end result. Ideas are great, and they're the food of innovation; but action that leads to results must be part of how you live, or your business will flutter, like you, from one great idea to another. A lack of completion means a lack of success. Get a good track record first; achieve some things; reach some goals; then evaluate where you are.</p> <p><strong>7. You have no support system.</strong></p> <p>Being a business owner is difficult, at best. If your friends scoff and your family isn't supportive, you'll be waging a lonely war against the forces of internal resistance, organizational disaster, and economic disinterestedness. The economy isn't going to reach out and pull your business up; you'll have to deal with your own personal weaknesses as you take one step after another toward building a good business. If you've got no personal, emotional support, and no mentors to call for advice, your chances of success are slim.</p> <p><strong>8. You are addicted to the familiar.</strong></p> <p>It's a whole new world in business. Marketing is changing, the economy is in turmoil, the way of business-as-we-know-it is shifting in terms of product demand, distribution, processes, and technology every day. Pity the business owner who takes refuge in the comfort of what is familiar, because what is familiar is quickly becoming what is obsolete.</p> <p>While you hide behind what you know from the past, your business will languish in the present and, most certainly, die in the near future. As a business owner, you have to be able to let go of the familiar and deal objectively and fearlessly with the new that will present itself to you every day.</p> <p><strong>9. You never set your own limits.</strong></p> <p>Being a business owner is appealing to many because they get to be the boss. If the only reason you want to be in business is to be completely independent, to live without limits, to revel in your rebelliousness, good luck. You'll need it.</p> <p>As a business owner, you'll find that you need to pull forth your own resolve, your own measure of discipline, your own rules, and then you'll need to live by them. That doesn't mean you have to do things traditionally. It means you have to identify and rein in your own unruly tendencies in order to get the job done and run a company that can sustain itself.</p> <p><strong>10. You don't keep your word.</strong></p> <p>Honesty is fundamental. Whatever may change in business, from marketing methods to product offerings, an essential requirement for any successful business is that it does what it says it will do. You can't make promises and break them; you can't offer products and fail to follow through; you can't make guarantees and then conveniently forget them. You might make a good first run, before customers figure out that you can't be trusted. But trust is integral to successful relationships between consumers and business, and you can't build trust without honesty.</p> <p>If you're already a business owner, do you see yourself in any of these descriptions? If so, maybe the best way to improve the operations and profitability of your business is by changing something about yourself.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-signs-you-shouldnt-be-a-business-owner">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-close-your-business">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Close Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-your-first-employee">How to Hire Your First Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-inspiring-stories-of-normal-people-building-a-thriving-online-store">4 Inspiring Stories of Normal People Building a Thriving Online Store</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center business ownership business personality business skills leadership skills personality traits small business Thu, 28 Apr 2011 02:30:57 +0000 Annie Mueller 528210 at http://www.wisebread.com