Win Arguments in Business without Losing Friends
7 Tips to Win Arguments in Business without Losing Friends
How to win an argument, about business, with friends? It's not tricky if you follow the 7 ways listed here.
Entrepreneurs know that arguments are inevitable in business. But most don’t know how to win an argument without losing the relationship with the person. When it’s a friend involved, the conflict turns problematic as you don’t want to lose your friendship. If the friend is also a business partner, then conflict management gets clumsy. But this article shows that a strong friendship can sometimes foster business success.
The problem is not getting into business with a friend or seeking advice from them. It’s about how you navigate the friendship and still hold your ground.
You may have a smooth relationship with them. Yet you can never be too prepared for conflict management. Here’s how to win an argument about business with friends.
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#1 Keep your Calm
As human beings, our natural tendency is to react to something. But that won’t help to win an argument!
Most likely, when we’re criticized or judged during a conflict, we react by mirroring the same. So, in such a stressful situation, one must remember to stay calm, and it’s always better to respond than react.
You may be itching to scream that counterargument or go on the defensive. But hold on! It’s not going to help with conflict resolution. Keep calm so that you can moderate the impacts of the conversation. Besides, a calm mind is more capable of dissecting a situation.
Before things escalate,
- Take a few deep breaths
- Observe your facial expressions, voice inflection, and body movements. Avoid counterproductive communication cues.
Staying calm is not difficult with consistent practice. Check out how successful people manage to stay calm. This calmness could a) help you avoid unnecessary arguments and b) guide you on how to win an argument.
Communication is a two-way street. If your friend seems agitated, soothe them.
Win Arguments in Business without Losing Friends
#2 Avoid Sarcasm & Blame
How to win an argument when the parties exchange these kinds of statements?
‘Whoa! Now you get it?’
‘That’s what I’ve been trying to say all along!’
‘It’s your fault this failed.’
‘I can’t believe you’d do this to me.’
These statements can get on anyone’s nerves, and we fail to recognize that it’s easier to win an argument with rationale than emotions. For conflict resolution, it’s important to avoid both sarcasm and blame.
Now you agree it’s better to avoid these in a conflict. But what would you do if your friend resorts to sarcasm or blame or both? In such instances,
- Take the moral high ground
- Use humour to lighten the mood
- Use statements that show that you respect their feelings, e.g. ‘I understand this is upsetting. I’m sure it’ll get better once we solve this.’
If you’re planning on the humour route for conflict management, we’ve got you something! You may want to brush up your skills with these tips from Michael Kerr, author of The Humor Advantage.
#3 Build Your Case
We’ve seen how the courtroom dramas emphasize facts and pieces of evidence for a hearing. Well, your conflict with your friend is a less intense variation of a courtroom battle. So, as part of conflict resolution:
- Prepare ahead to present your facts and findings
- Support it with testimonies, i.e., others who vouch for your stand
- Build your case better by providing the logical reasons
- Keep your argument simple and convey it coherently
To make your case stronger,
- Ask them open-ended questions
- Invite them to share their perspective on your findings
When you don’t undermine their perspective, it compels them to set aside their ego. Then it becomes a mere question of logic. You can then nail it with strong supporting evidence, as discussed above. It’s one of the best ways to win an argument!
Here are some specific tips on using logic to win an argument. May the force of logic be with you!
#4 Ask: Comfort or Solution first?
When things are messy, you and your friend could be in panic mode. In a state of panic, our fear or confusion take over our logical mind and communication. We could end up saying things we may regret later.
Acknowledging the feelings of fear or confusion is an effective way to tackle this. We urge that you start by being supportive friends to one another.
Remember that the best way to win an argument is not to get into one. Thus, before exchanging heated words, ask each other what they need immediately. Comfort or solution? The chances are that at least one person may seek comfort. In that case,
- Create a safe space to vent about the situation (not at each other)
- Acknowledge the person’s feelings (if your friend is sharing)
- Accept that it’s normal to feel emotional in a stressful situation (if you’re venting out)
Once heavy feelings are out of the way, then discuss the next steps without arguing. If an argument still arises, you can try some of the other ways mentioned here.
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#5 Listen while they Speak
Everyone wants to be heard, and conflict management requires that all parties involved get to express their stance. So, when it’s your turn to listen, be a good listener. It’s also a significant way of showing your respect for others.
We can’t stress these enough.
- Please pay attention to your friend while they speak
- Acknowledge verbally and non-verbally that you are following their points
- Please don’t interrupt, as it may throw them off
- Make a mental note of points that you disagree with and want to touch upon later
- Wait for your turn to speak
Being a good listener in a conflict has another advantage. You can examine if they are underlying issues behind the feelings expressed. A breach of trust, an unfulfilled promise, a lack of recognition, or undervaluation.
A person’s feelings may give away much more than they intend to do. Look out for these cues to aid in conflict resolution. Then engage in a transparent conversation about your suspicions with your friend.
If you don’t have a track record for being a good listener yet, not to worry. Check out this guide to be a better listener.
#6 Applaud Strong(er) Points of Contention
You have several logical points on your side to win an argument. Agreed. But theirs too could be equally compelling, if not more.
Remind yourself that not all arguments are productive. For conflict resolution, we need a solution in the best interests of the situation. When your friend’s point of contention seems more reasonable or stronger, be willing to agree with it. It’s okay to concede a valid point, and it doesn’t mean your case isn’t strong anymore. Instead, it reaffirms that you’re open to others’ perspectives even in a conflict.
If you aren’t completely convinced, first applaud them for the point, they made. Next, reiterate that you still have some reservations about it. You can then share your views. Or if you need to look deeper into it, you can inform them on the same.
There are many ways to express your agreement or partial agreement. Take a look at some of the common phrases used in conflict management.
#7 Agree to Disagree
How to win an argument if you disagree with your friend? By acknowledging exactly that!
You and your friend share different perspectives on the issue (hence the argument). You have to respect the other’s point of view. If you cannot reach a consensus even after deliberation, be smart to admit that you agree to disagree.
Agreeing to disagree gives both parties another opportunity to refine their perspectives, which would help explore an agreeable solution.
If you’re still unsure if it’s okay to agree on disagreeing, check out this article.
For those who know us, it’s time for a bonus tip!
#Bonus: It's a Conversation, Not an Argument
An argument is not entirely about who is right or wrong. Consider the argument as a conversation for analysis and problem-solving. Do bear in mind that the goal of conflict resolution is NOT to argue for the sake of argument, and rather, it’s a means for identifying a way forward.
That’s why it’s important to control your emotions before, during and after an argument. It’s also crucial to keep communicating with your friend after the argument. After all, you value friendship and want to maintain your good equation. If there is still tension after the meeting, you may want a mediator to cool things. Yet, do this only if it’s utmost necessary.
A conflict doesn’t mean anything bad for your friendship, and if at all, it’s a great opportunity to understand more about yourself and your friends. With proper conflict management, you can find meaningful ways to collaborate despite differences.
Besides, as human beings, we learn to do things. And when we learn them, we strive to do better! Communication is an important part to learn. So is winning an argument with friends you don’t want to lose. Learn more of the art using the ways explained above.
Practice how to win an argument until you perfect it.