Jerry Spence startes off by asking why do we argue? He says that he doesn’t like to argue and he doesn’t like people that do. The confused me at first. He askes why not ty to get along, and besides when he argues he loses. He says we were born to make a winning argument just as we were born to walk. Mr. Spence says that we are so bound up, so mute. From the moment we have been conditioned to avoid confrontation. We have been taught not to let our emotions show. By the time we become adults the word argue calls up dark and negative feelings.
Many throughout our lives have forced up to accept their ways, their relugion, their values, ect… The key to our freedom is embarrassingly obvious. We need only to give ourselves permission, to unlock to doors. The key is to give ourselves permission to peer out of our closets and to look around, to ask questions and demand respect. We need to speak out and just to be. Most people are afriad to argue because it just causes trouble. Our arguements turn sour, the words ugly, the passages to the heart close, and the feelings of love are replaced by the hurt and the anger. But, fear is ourr ally.
Fear confirms us. Fear is our energy that is convertible to POWER-our power. We need to learn not to afraid of our fear but to embrace it. If you feel your fear, you can also feel its power and you can change its power into YOUR power. First, to win an argument, exhaustive preparation is essential. The most prepared person will usually win. In the preparation process, you must thoroughly research and understand your case, and you must also thoroughly research and understand your opponent’s position. You should know and understand the facts and arguments of your opponent better than he or she does.
Second, you must have a profound understanding of the thinking and emotions of the decision maker(s) – in his case, the jury. Your argument should be framed to harmonize with the decision makers’ values, wants and needs. You must understand the prejudices of the jurors and address the built-in objections they may have to your arguments. You must help them to understand the motives of your client and identify with them as their own. In other words, empathize with the jurors and help them empathize with your client. Mr. Spence emphasizes that, in order for the jurors to believe your arguments, you must argue from your own sincere belief.
You also have to talk to them in their own language, treat them with respect and relate with them so they can relate back to you. If you act superior to them, you will probably make them your enemies and never gain their trust. Mr. Spence says that, in your personal relationships, you may find the only way to win an argument is to lose. If the only way to win your point is to destroy the relationship, you may find it’s better to concede. This was an excellent book on argumentation skills. However, first you have to define what it is to win.
What do you want to get from the argument and what are you willing to risk to get that? Through several examples he works out how to win by losing, how to win by empowering others, how to win by redirecting the prejudice of others or using that prejudice to your advantage, etc. He spends a great deal of time discussing the importance of using stories to illustrate points and does a fine job of it. The book is filled with stories and experiences from his real life courtroom experiences and how his arguments affected the jury, sometimes in a manner that surprised him and sometimes in the manner he expected.
Even when the results were a surprise he explains why, after thinking about it, the decision went the way it did. The book is highly slanted toward the argument styles of a lawyer in front of a jury. However, it is useful to anyone in any potentially argumentative situation where a position has to be taken and defended. How to argue, how to win, when to argue, when to shut up, it all starts with deciding what it is to win and then moving to that point. It includes sections on arguing in the marriage and the workplace. The one about handling arguments in a relationship is an interesting chapter.
I particularly enjoyed reading How To Argue And Win Every Time because of the insights Gerry Spence shared about himself, including his prejudicial dislike of corporate executives. Studying How To Argue And Win Every Time can help you in your personal relationships, in personal selling and in writing advertising. It should be required reading for aspiring lawyers and highly recommended for anyone else. In How to Argue and Win Every Time, Spence shares the philosophy that has made him such a formidable and persuasive advocate. Gerry Spence portrays himself as a simple country lawyer.
His easy and pleasant appearance is not what one might expect from such a high-powered attorney. His ” aw shucks ” personna is credible because it is true. Spence’s appearance and mannerisms are no affectation. They are real; and here lies the first lesson that he teaches the reader. In order to argue winningly, he argues; one must tell the truth. Indeed, one must sometimes delve deeply into the matter at hand in order to discover the essential truth. To Spence, the winning argument must always have credibility with the jury. Argument is discovering what you truly believe and stating that strongly.
Spence also realizes that it is extremely important to listen with empathy to the other side of the argument. This is so critical in our everyday lives. We must listen not to refute but to learn. Many times we will be able to avoid an argument altogether and quickly reach common ground. At the very least, we will be able to clearly understand where the other side is coming from. Even though Gerry Spence is a lawyer, he addresses the types of argument most of us will face. He writes about how to win argument in love relationships as well as business relationships. He even has a separate chapter entitled, ” Arguing with Kids.
Spence builds his argument chapter by chapter. He carefully lays out his well-reasoned case in such a manner that the reader may find her or himself nodding in agreement. Spence’s skills in the art of persuasion may remind you of a master in the martial arts. I found this book an easy and enjoyable read. How to Argue and Win Every Time is filled with many chunks of wisdom. Some of the insights have been stated before, but the book contained a surprising amount of unique, original material. Do I now win every argument? Well no, but I must say that I have avoided several since reading this wonderful book.