What To Win Political Arguments, or Any Other Kind of Argument: Don’t get snagged on a specific detail.
Have you ever been in an argument, and you were interrupted or contradicted
because you didn’t get some detail exactly right? Most of us have. It might have been an insignificant point, but the challenge broke the flow of our logic. It was frustrating and perhaps fatally damaging to our presentation. Not fun.
What to do if you can’t remember a specific detail. ( The following tip is valuable not just in an argument, but in a media interview or any presentation that leaves you open to a challenge.)
One. Ask yourself whether the detail is absolutely essential to your argument. If not, and if you are not certain about the specifics, edit it out. Just don’t mention it.
Two. If it is important to your argument, and you are not certain about the specifics, be deliberately imprecise. For example, if you’re not absolutely sure whether it was 3 or 5 million dollars, you can say something like “The cost was several million dollars.” If you’re not sure whether the person was born in Georgia or Florida, say something like “He was born in the South.” That way you are less likely to get sidetracked into a discussion of exactly how much or where.
Three. You also can say something like, “I don’t recall every detail, but here is the main outline of what happened.”
Four. The main point to remember is that interruptions and challenges weaken your presentation and diminish your credibility.
Five. The absolute best way to deal with challenges and interruptions is to check out the essential details before you begin to talk.