Our relationships with other people are generally far from perfect, and we often have to deal with someone who is aggressive, who finds it hard to listen, or who stubbornly defends their position. When this happens, we have two options: we can either go into the dispute with the same defiant attitude, or we can choose to win. For the author, when it comes to arguments, ‘winning’ does not mean knocking out an opponent and rejoicing in their defeat; it is about achieving a goal, while leaving a good and lasting impression of ourselves on the other person, and enabling everyone involved to feel satisfied. This may sound impossible, but it can be done.
The most important driver is emotion. We must never forget that the person we are arguing with, no matter how cold or detached they may seem, has feelings, and these determine their behaviour and choices. After all, this is human nature: when we have to make a decision, we tend to ignore logic and rationality, and instead we opt to give into our most pressing needs and emotions. This concept is widely used in marketing, because when people buy, they are actually looking for some kind of satisfaction, so they get carried away by their enthusiasm when they see a new product or pair of shoes, for example.
It may sound strange, but every personal relationship involves a selling and buying mechanism: parents insisting that their children go to bed early, couples arguing about where to go on holiday, school children trying to find excuses as to why they did not do their homework. They are all trying to sell their idea to another person, but if they really want to win these arguments, they have to put themselves in the other person’s shoes, try to understand how they feel, and reassure them that their needs will be met.