The goal should be to state your views and to hear theirs. It should not be: I am not leaving until you admit that you are wrong, or here is what I believe, and I am not budging from this.
And when you listen, go all in. Don’t half-listen while figuring out what you’re going to say next.
Don’t ‘Drop the Anchor’
Some people start an argument by staking their position and refusing to budge, an impulse that Dr. Cuddy called “dropping the anchor.”
Instead, try to understand the other person’s point of view; it does not mean you have to agree with him or her, or that you are abandoning deeply felt objections to, for example, racism or sexism, she said.
Mind Your Body Language
Your body language can send messages that are more compelling than the words coming out of your mouth.
Try to avoid gestures that are defensive, like crossing your arms or clenching your jaw. Maintain eye contact in a way that is not a stare-down. Lean forward slightly to show you are interested.
Know the Facts
A good argument is supported by evidence, but that is just a starting point. Sometimes, especially with political back-and-forths, one side will look only at evidence supporting its own position, conveniently leaving out the full picture, Dr. Gutting noted. “An effective argument would have to take account of all the relevant evidence,” he said.
Speak and Listen Fearlessly
The condition for a conversation has to be that you are unafraid to speak courageously, and you are unafraid to tell your partner exactly what it is that you think about the world.
But a two-way argument also requires fearless listening. One of the conditions for the possibility of a fruitful argument is to allow for some kind of opening up in myself to hear.