“Oh look, this isn’t an argument.”
“Yes it is.”
“No it isn’t. It’s just contradiction.”
Here are some undeniable* truths which I’ve learnt from watching all kinds of arguments, from drunken Saturday night encounters in the chip shop to online rap battles and family disputes at Christmas:
- Insults only have the power you grant them. Appear not to care, and even the harshest words will be about as damaging as dandelion seeds in the wind.
- While showing emotion is good, don’t lose your temper. Lose that and you’ve lost the argument.
- To really rile your opponent, appear to not realise that you’re irritating them. This is by far the most irritating thing you can do.
- Audiences love an underdog. Witnessing someone being outwitted by an apparently weaker opponent is joyous.
- Have absolute belief in your words. If you haven’t, write some new words until you do.
- Have absolute belief in yourself. Assume the authority you were granted by being asked to speak.
- Apologise for nothing. Acknowledge obvious mistakes and move on.
- The lower your perceived standing, the greater chance you have to impress. Worried about being regarded as somehow inferior because you’re the youngest, the least experienced, or you’re obviously from a minority? Guess what: you have the greatest chance of blowing the audience away with a surprise success.