Opinion: How to productively discuss (without the complications)
April 19, 2019
So I talk a lot. That was a problem I faced when I was really young, but luckily through those troubles I’ve discovered some basics when discussing with others (I prefer to say discuss rather than argue because I am a heavily opinionated person and don’t like fighting nor am I any bit a professional debater.) I know there are a lot of others like me, I mean just turn on the T.V. for the proof, so I write this with the intent to help my fellow loud-mouthed, fully opinionated, novice discussion junkies to aid in productivity.
Now there is a plethora of different perspectives on every subject, so I want to focus on one particular bug that gives everyone the heebie jeebies when discussing. That one topic is politics. The utter mention of this word can spur blubbering family members to rant for hours. However, politics should not be negated from conversation because of its taboo nature; it is important to be well informed on our country’s whereabouts, especially when we are granted the opportunity to really make a difference.
We have the luxury of being subjected to all these points of views to really form a firm belief on politics as a whole. Why let that go to waste by being close-minded? Granted, there is a correct way in properly discussing controversial subjects, but ignoring them outright can be more harmful than discussing it. I mean let any idea boil by itself for too long and it becomes a cement foundation of truth, rather than a flexible opinion.
The key word is discussing which excludes name calling, raised voices, and over talking. These are widely known rules but even the highest political figures rely on the contrary. The truth is, when someone does any of those no-goes, it demeans the argument all and all. The instant gratification of taking a quick under punch to the opponent’s ego will be overlooked in the long run and deemed childish if anything.
Politics encompasses a range of controversial subjects and even if effort is put into working with these primary discussing principles, the opponent may not follow the same rules. It is a necessity to preface that this is a productive discussion. The level of detail in the preface will be according to the company at hand. A family member’s discussion will be vastly different from a discussion with a professor. There should be extra precautions taken for a reluctant father, rather than a literature professor.
An example starts when an individual says something that does not quite sit right. Instead of saying “that’s wrong,” try “I don’t think so because… reasons (don’t actually say ‘reasons’) … but I am just discussing.” That little end bit directly shows that there is no actively sought after argument, rather an inquiry of opinion and partial rebuttal. Now this could all be Speech and Debate mumbo jumbo, but I never took that class and it is a marginally different setting from a casual conversation which is why I feel comfortable giving my two cents on it.
It practically boils down to common sense. In any discussion whether it be politics, sciences, etc. common sense needs to be present. Find voices are being raised? That is time to stop, taking in consideration it is better to stop before anything worse happens.
Additionally, neither side should come with the intent to persuade the other side, that decision must be kept to the individual. Bring up the facts, the numbers, the nitty-gritty details, then conclude, and boom that is one finished discussion. Leave the opponent contemplating what was said rather than frustrated with the insistent pleas to see the other side. Either way, if there are any novice discussers like myself who enjoys talking, not yelling, this is what I discovered aids in a productive conversation. Take in part that fights are always bound to happen, and it will never be perfect, but having a sturdy basis never harmed anyone.