We’ve all been in that situation where you overhear a colleague say something that sparks our argumentative side and we feel the uncontrollable need to express our opinion. Debating social, economic and political topics can be a big taboo in some offices due to likelihood of its ability to break relationships which are crucial in a work environment. However a well-structured, well-supported and calmly held debate can not only push the views of those debating across but help a person to build on themselves and form strong bonds with those of both similar and opposite opinions.
Methods on how to not debate can be seen by simply observing the infamous Donald Trump in action. Mr Trump again recently hit the headlines due to his actions in the televised GOP debate which is taking place in the lead up to the US presidential election. This in addition to a large number of highly controversial actions provides a clear boundary in which we all do not want to cross, especially in the workplace!
Apart from obviously avoiding personal and sensitive topics, there are some key aspects to which a successful debate can be held between teammates. This post will discuss points which may help someone succeed in a debate but also allow all participants gain something from the experience.
Planning, as with anything, will significantly help you reach a chosen goal. We’re not talking about thousands of works or a plan for every scenario, but clarifying to yourself what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. Points supported by established and well-sourced facts also obviously help you push forward your plan much better than simply stating an opinion. By using both planning and fact-finding in a debate you help develop both for the use in other areas.
For success in a debate, the ability to listen is vital. Being able to adapt to your opponents’ arguments promptly and efficiently is only achievable by listening carefully. By doing so you also show respect to the opposing side, respect, which will likely be returned when it’s your time to speak. Listening, surprisingly enough may also actually help you learn something new despite the fact it may prove you incorrect. Additionally, as said before, skills in debate reflect back to many other aspects of life to which listening, is also a core mechanic.
Touched on lightly in the previous paragraph, during a debate you may actually find yourself wrong completely or in some aspect. Being able to accept being wrong not only shows integrity to those around you but allows you to learn and move forward. This again this can be applied to all walks of life and will help those around you to freely express their opinions to you more easily and hence provide different perspectives.
Of course there are many other tips and tricks can be used to have a successful debate in which you win. When at work on the other hand, the main objective is not to be an outright winner but to help everyone build on the experience as a whole. Participants should come out with increased confidence in expressing their ideas which in turn will help creative thinking flow freely within meetings. Increased cross-functionality may also be a result of a debate as colleagues learn more about people in different departments and build on existing relationships.
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