- Ask a question.
- Use history.
- Use an analogy.
- Make contrasts.1
- Vary comparisons.
*And to really make your point, combine some of these or all of them. These points have turned the tables in debates I’ve watched.
More important than making your point though, is using these tips wisely.
1. If you’re going to ask a question, ask it to stop those who “beg the question.”
2. If you’re going to use history, make sure it’s accurate and not an exception to the rule.
3. If you’re going to make analogies, contrasts, and comparisons, make sure they are directly related to your point and relevant in helping listeners understand the degrees of the subject.
4. Contextualize your content. Relate it to popular ideas/culture.
5. Don’t be a sophist! (Meaning: seek to disseminate truth, don’t seek to win an argument.)
1 Many contrasts work better when asking, “Why would this be wrong for the person who believes in the _[fill in blank]_ worldview?” yet not yours. Then possibly answering.
*Also, whenever possible, try to use charts. A Dartmouth study showed that charts (visuals) were much more effective in influencing someone rather than talking or writing. (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/opening-political-mind.pdf and http://rapidlearninginstitute.com/training-insights/rapid-persuasion-training)
**4 side-points that are also helpful is 1. be radically transparent, 2. use cognitive dissonance (though these points are more about the listener’s emotions than the speaker’s skills), 3. use analogical summaries, and 4. use common language terminology when possible (without compromising pithiness).