How to Argue Well
/ Author: CLAC Staff
/ Categories: Guide magazine /
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How to Argue Well

We are often tempted to avoid rocking the boat, but constructive disagreements are vital to the health of teams and companies

Teams are stronger when team members come from different backgrounds, have dfferent opinions and experiences, and are willing to share their ideas—even if that means disagreements may arise.

In fact, research shows that when businesses experience difficulty, it’s often because people are scared of conflict and don’t speak up when they should.

So how can we disagree productively so that we can learn from each other, seek the best possible solutions, and grow as a team?


Remember you are on the same team. The goal is to find the best possible solution, not win a debate.

Ask questions. Rather than assume what someone means, ask for clarification if you aren’t sure.

Listen. Have a spirit of humility, inquisitiveness, and openness to other ideas or new facts.

Keep it focused. Stick with the facts, not opinions, and analyze evidence. If the debate goes off topic, steer it back.

Acknowledge that you may never agree on the topic. When it comes to personal opinions, political views, and other personal decisions, accept that people have a right to disagree.


Create stories in your mind. It’s easy to create a narrative in which you are the hero and the person who has a different viewpoint is a villain, but this is unhelpful, untruthful, and leads to future conflict.

Make it personal. Don’t call names, use personal attacks, or cast judgment on others as people.

Take things personally. Don’t feel so committed to your idea that you take any push back against the idea as a personal attack.

Focus on convincing the other person. Instead, focus on sharing ideas and listening to each other.

Source: Harvard Business Review

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