“Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate.”
– Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th U.S. Vice President
Manly debate is an activity which few modern men understand. Once a common interest of all Americans, true debate has been confused and discouraged.
Unfortunately, most debates today quickly become emotionally-charged arguments that end with hurt feelings and damaged reputations.
However, this does not need to be the result of all debates.
By applying the seven keys below to your own discussions, you can keep your debates logical and friendly.
#1 Be Prepared
In order to maintain an intelligent, logical debate, you must prepare beforehand. If you are not prepared, the discussion will quickly disintegrate into an emotional argument.
To be prepared for logical debate, work to gain a clear understanding of important issues. Although you obviously cannot be prepared for every possible topic, you can build a strong foundation in the most vital subjects.
If someone starts a debate on a topic with which you are not acquainted, politely tell your would-be opponent that you do not yet know enough on the topic. This strategy will help you avoid being drawn into fruitless, emotional arguments that damage bot your relationships and your reputation.
#2 Stay Logical
Throughout the debate, carefully keep your discussions logical and well-reasoned. Avoid falling into logical fallacies and do not give way to the temptation to attack on an emotional level.
If logic is forgotten, you debate will no longer help anyone learn.
#3 Be Calm
Especially when debating important issues such as politics or religion, it is easy to become passionate about the topic.
However, losing your temper can only sully your own reputation and ruin the debate.
When you start to lose your calm, remember the reason you are debating: you want to change your opponent’s mind and, perhaps, learn more yourself.
If you become angry and passionate, your influence you had with your opponent will most likely be immediately destroyed.
#4 Be Ready To Stop
If you see that the debate has reached an impasse or, worse, is becoming an angry argument, you, as a manly debater, must be prepared to gently, but firmly, end the debate.
If you allow the argument to continue, your relationship will be damaged and neither participant will gain.
Even if your opponent gets carried away by the excitement of the moment, it is your job to end any fruitless debates.
#5 Be Respectful
As a manly debater, you must, despite your disagreement, treat your opponent in a respectful way.
If possible, look for some point of agreement. By acknowledging this shared idea, you will not only avoid alienating him, but you may even convince him to truly consider your position.
Whenever you debate, remember that you are attacking a set of ideas – not a particular person.
#6 Ask Questions
Although logical statements are certainly necessary in a debate, well-planned questions can do more to make your opponent reconsider his own position.
When you make a statement, your opponent will naturally try to think of counter arguments.
When you ask a question, however, your opponent is more likely to notice the flaws in his own system of thought.
Just be careful to avoid wording your question in such a way that it really becomes a statement.
#7 Keep The Debate Friendly
Even in the middle of debating, you must remember that your opponent is your friend. Although you do disagree with some of his beliefs, you still do value his friendship.
When the debate ends, show your gentlemanliness and friendliness by thanking the other person for discussing the issue in a logical way.
Doing this reaffirms your friendship and helps to keep the debate from undermining your relationship.
By keeping your debates logical and friendly, you and opponent can gain a better understanding of important issues and build a strong relationship. Debate does not need to damage friendships.
What debating “keys” have you found?