Magazine article Black Enterprise

What's the Point? Strategies to Help You Present a Stellar Argument to Any Jury

Magazine article Black Enterprise

What's the Point? Strategies to Help You Present a Stellar Argument to Any Jury

Article excerpt

TWO YEARS AGO, ATTORNEY MICHAEL Z. GREEN LED Texas Wesleyan University's search committee to replace a retiring dean. Faced with the prospect of refereeing a potentially contentious campaign between candidates, Green, who is also a professor of law at the university, sought a more amicable approach.

He convinced committee members to forfeit the process in lieu of a merit-based secret ballot overseen by a non-faculty consultant, with only the victor announced. Despite his successes and being involved in the legal profession for more than 14 years, Green, 43, still seems to think, "Few things are as challenging as arguing a case to a jury of those you deal with on a daily basis--be it an employer, colleague, spouse, or friend."

In the book How to Win Any Argument: Without Raising Your Voice, Losing Your Cool, or Coming To Blows (Career Press; $14.99), author Robert Mayer writes, "Arguing for a desired outcome is part of every relationship, including our most intimate ones." The author asserts that regardless of whom you are up against or attempting to convince, winning people over is a cunning tactic that encompasses communication and delivery.

Here are some courtroom-derived techniques to help you garner victories in those make-or-break discussions that may happen outside a court of law, but are just as important to you.

Know before you go. Ask yourself: "What is the issue? What point(s) do I want to make about it? What outcome do I want?" By the end of a successful argument, you will have gotten others to see things your way and, in some fashion, in agreement with your proposal, point, or outcome. In his book, Mayer suggests asking for this outcome in a direct manner, early on in the dialogue.

Manage your strengths and weaknesses. "Your argument, no matter how great it is, is bound to meet resistance," writes Mayer. …

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