"Effective Communication - Understanding the Word 'Argument' "

Many people have the wrong concept of the word "argument".  I remember counseling someone on a marriage problem.  The husband was debating some points presented to him.  When I mentioned his "arguing" the point, he straightened up and defensively said, "I'm not arguing" and expressed his feelings about his interpretation of the word. To him "argument" was akin to fight.  His understanding of the word triggered a misinterpretation.

When two people argue, it is not fighting.  At least it shouldn't be.  Scientists argue; they present arguments all the time.  So do lawyers.  Arguments are a perfectly healthy part of communication. However, we have misunderstood "arguing" for so long because of our poor communication practices, that we have made it a misnomer.  We don't know how to argue anymore. Argument is based on logical debate. 

There is an excellent tape, "How to Argue and Win Every Time," (Audio Renaissance), by  Gerry Spence, who has been practicing law for over forty years and who is widely regarded as one of the most skilled courtroom advocates in America.  The author shows how to apply his techniques at work, in court, everywhere, every day.  He says that the success of a good argument lies in the preparation. 

Often, the one presented with an argument does not want to give into it because he or she knows that on the basis of logic his/her argument would lose.  To avoid interaction with "argument" the Receiver either agrees, gives lip service or terminates the discussion.  If the discussion does not terminate (i.e., the Sender continues the argument dialogue), the Receiver may then lose control, because of the lack of communication ability and/or facts, and start a word fight -- or even a fist fight -- which is where the word "argument" gets its bad reputation.


The success of a good argument lies in the preparation.  So, next time you face an argument with someone, hold off and go prepare first!  In other words no one can jump into an argument without having some facts and realities on hand. This process would eliminate a lot of problems in marriage as well as in business. /dmh

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