No matter who you are or what you do, chances are you are going to face an argument at least once in your lifetime. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-blown row with your other half; it could be something much less obvious as far as arguments go. Maybe it’s more of a negotiation at work or a simple disagreement with a friend. It can be really frustrating to lose an argument (especially if you’re like us, we hate losing), but what if you could never lose? Here’s how to win an argument every time – even if you’re wrong. It’s called the PREP technique, and we’re about to show you how it works.
What’s the point you want to make in your argument? This is where you want to start, by getting straight to the point. It’s important to note that before rush straight in with your point, pause and count to two first. Those who come straight in with an answer will seem as if they’re being emotional or defensive, so make it look like you’re carefully considering your initial point before you speak. Let’s imagine your arguing with your other half about the dishes, your point might be, “I don’t think you’re pulling your weight around the house.” On its own, this is bound to cause an argument full of emotion that you’re likely to lose if you let feelings get in the way. So that’s when we move onto the next part of PREP.
As you don’t want this to be an emotionally charged argument (which is bound to see you throwing dishes and storming out of the house), you need to provide a solid reason for your first point. This will ensure your argument is fact-based and therefore will seem more rational. To effectively communicate your point, present the reason you feel this way. In the same example we’ve started with, your reason could be something like, “The reason I say this is because I have found myself taking on the majority of the household chores by myself without any help from you.” You’ve made your point, and now you’ve backed it up with the reason you feel this is the case. Next up, you need to prove that what you’re saying is based on facts and examples, not just because you fancy an argument.
Following your reason with specific examples makes it difficult for the other person to argue with you because you’re proving what you’re saying is right. Again, it’s important not to let emotion get in the way of this, so ensure they’re solid examples that prove your point. In our example you could say, “Last Tuesday, I did both the cooking and the cleaning, whereas usually, this would be a shared task. On Saturday, I did two loads of laundry while you watched TV.” Make sure you have at least two examples, so it’s not just a “one-time” thing. You’ve so far provided a point for the argument, a reason as to why you feel that way, and examples to back it up. So, how do you finish off?
Now, we’re going to get back to the point, just to clarify what you said initially. This time, you’ll want to refer back to your reason and examples, before highlighting the point again. As an example, you could say, “On that basis, I do not believe that you are taking on your fair share of the household chores. I don’t think you’re pulling your weight around the house.” You’ve clarified the reason for the argument, and you’ve not let any emotion get in the way.
This PREP method is the perfect way to win an argument, no matter what aspect of your life you use it in. We’ve used a common spouse argument as an example, but this also works extremely well at work and in the business world. You can even use this method in a sales pitch! The next time you want to win an argument, use the PREP technique and remove all emotion from the confrontation. You’ll be surprised at how well it works.