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01/05/2015 07:19 am ET Updated Jan 05, 2015

7 Tricks To Winning An Argument

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SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com

Here's wow to keep the peace and persuade family and friends to see it your way:

#1: Listen
If you want to persuade someone to see your way, you first need to hear what they want, says Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D., author of The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations Into Breakthroughs. “When you listen first, you’re more able to find a way that meets their needs as well as your own. A win-win saves the relationship which is more important than getting your way.”

#2: Empathize
Persuasion experts stress the need for empathy when trying to make a convincing argument. Summarize what you hear and show that you understand their feelings. People are more likely to listen to you even if your perspective is different from theirs, if you show you care and understand them, says Dr. Reynolds.

For example, you want a weekend alone (and away) with your husband and he doesn’t want to spend a dime. Imagine where your husband is coming from and try to anticipate his questions and arguments before he makes them: “I understand that you’re working hard trying to help the kids with their expenses. I hope we can also try to relax together, and maybe a weekend away is just what we both need right now.” (He’ll likely make a point about stress and money. Be ready with your answer!)

#3: Give it up
Factor in a loss for a gain. Plan to offer a “nice-to-have-but-I-could-give-it-up” item. You give something up, but you hold on to your “must-haves” and it’s not so bad. “There might be loss for both of you, but the compromise might be the best way out,” says Dr. Reynolds. “Hopefully, there will be a middle ground you can both live with without resentment.”

Let’s say your daughter wants to move to a town that isn't the safest in order to get a cheaper mortgage, how can you convince her to see your way? You need to budge. Offer to go house hunting with her and let your realtor friend take you both around. Sit back and let the realtor talk about how the neighborhood she’s looking at is bad for resale. Give up the idea that she will be living near you and stick to the most important part—you want her in as safe of a neighborhood as possible.

#4: Set your emotional intention
Before you enter a difficult conversation, find words that keep your heart open such as "love," "compassion," or "gratitude." “Keep saying the words to yourself to keep negative emotions away. When the other person feels you care and that you don’t feel they are bad or wrong, you may be surprised at the good results you get,” says Dr. Reynolds.

For example, your son moved back home and he doesn't feel he needs to help out with chores. How do you persuade him to do the dishes, for example, without nagging? Think positive, smile, and say, “Honey, I’m so glad you’re here. I know we’ll all love living together if we can keep the place clean. How about if you take dishes this week and I’ll handle laundry?” Your voice is singing with love and gratitude and he likely doesn’t even know what hit him. And the dishes will get done.

#5: Honor the other person
You don't want to tar your relationship, you want to strengthen it. Think of having a conversation rather than an argument. You need mutual respect. The other person isn't going to hear you if you talk to them like they're ignorant or if you act like you know more. If they feel you're kind and open, they may be more willing to hear your opinion.

For example, if you and your son-in-law's mother disagree on the type of baby shower to throw for your grandbaby, you might want to let her know you value her opinion: “I love that idea—you are so creative. Would it be possible to also consider an indoor venue in case of rain? The Mexican place in town has a spacious party room.”

#6: Focus on your strongest point
You don’t need to go for quantity. If you have five decent points and one strong argument, focus on the strong point—it will be harder for someone to weaken your case.

For example, your daughter-in-law doesn’t want to take a joint family vacation with you and your husband, and you’re determined to change her mind, what do you say? Instead of pointing out how your daughter-in-law will get rest, bonding time with her family, date nights with her husband, time to exercise, fabulous meals, and unlimited tropical weather…just focus on your big, strong argument: You’re paying. What parent doesn’t want a free vacation?

#7: Keep calm
If you want to be heard you need to keep your temper under control and avoid conflict. Don’t make personal attacks or slam someone’s integrity. Think of bringing down the issue—not the other person. Take a deep breath if you need to. It’s hard to persuade if you’re fighting. Again—deep breath.

Read more from Grandparents.com:
What grandma says vs. what she actually thinkshttp://www.grandparents.com/family-and-relationships/family-matters/what-grandma-says-vs-what-she-thinks
If I had known my mother back then...
Are today's parents strict enough?

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