This Is The Harvard-Approved Way To Win An Argument

by : Francesca Donovan on : 06 Oct 2016 12:22

As with most things in life, arguments are so much better when you win, even if we’re always told it’s the taking part that counts.

Unfortunately, us introverted sorts tend to find that confrontation only leads to bumbling debate, sweat and tears – not victory.


But fear not, Harvard scientists have come up with a fool-proof way to win a fight, especially if you know you’re in the right.

Victory GIPHY

As hard as it may be, the way to solve the argument when you’re in a position of power is to simply listen.

Harvard psychologist, Amy Cuddy has literally written the book on how to win at life – and it’s called Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.


The book outlines successful conduct during discussions, and thus, all manner of relationships from the personal to the professional.


Cuddy said:

When you walk into those situations that have a lot of conflict in them, the first thing to do is to be present enough to allow the other person to speak first.

You’re not giving power away; you’re actually allowing them to feel seen and understood.


In other words, responding to your verbal opponent’s objectionable words with immediate anger won’t help.

Cuddy added, ‘If you let them get through it, you’re going to get a little more information about what that is really about.’

At which point you can either step away from the argument or proceed to address the point of debate.


Essentially, the moral of the story is to not crush the person you’re arguing with, just because you know you’re right.

As much as mic drop moments might be hugely satisfying, they will only lead to resentment and actually, listening to your challenger could teach you something along the way.


To be honest, this all sounds like a chapter from ‘Basic Conversation 101’ and if this is news to you, you are really beyond help.

In the meantime, shouldn’t Harvard-educated scientists be curing cancer, mulling over the space time continuum or playing with Schrödinger’s cat?

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Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.

Topics: Life


The Insider
  1. The Insider

    A Harvard psychologist explains how to argue when you know you're right