“You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.”
– Dale Carnegie
Observing two people who are arguing can be fascinating. I’m not talking about a discussion or a debate – but a genuine argument. If both persons hold widely different perspectives and the conversation devolves into arguing, reason and common sense become secondary. Emotions take over. Most times, the result is a stalemate. Neither person leaves with any sense of satisfaction – and the issue remains unresolved.
One technique that improves the chances for a more positive outcome from a disagreement is the Ransberger Pivot. It is a communication principle that is used to find common ground with an opponent. It is defined as a debate technique (first described and utilized by Ray Ransberger and Marshall Fritz in 1982) in which a person attempts to find common ground with another person they are trying to persuade. The proposed method deploys three stages:
- Listen to the other person’s objections and try to understand what they are really concerned about.
- Understand the other person’s objections and validate how they feel about the issue.
- Find a common goal in the other person’s objections and convince them your way is a viable solution to the agreed problem. Use facts and share your view on a solution to what you agree is the problem.