Start Up Blog

How to win a debate

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on July 2, 2010

Winning a debate isn’t about proving the other party is wrong. It’s about proving you are right. In fact it’s about proving that you are more correct, even a little bit.

Then, by inference the other party must be wrong.

Although that’s a nice tip, debating is hardly the approach we need in any part of a startup business. The best advice we can give here is to never enter a debate, and let the other party believe they are right. Startups are about building relationships, not sabotaging them.

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2 Responses

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  1. samotage said, on July 2, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    …let the silence do the work for you.

  2. Paul Wallbank said, on July 4, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Steve, why get stuck in a “win/lose” mentality. A debate, as opposed to an argument, is an exchange of views between intelligent people.

    In a business, healthy debate is important as it allows us to explore ideas and challenge stale thinking.

    Even if the person you’re debating with is “wrong” there’s always something you can learn from their point of view.

    I’d suggest some of the best startup opportunities lie in sectors where comfortable incumbents have stopped listening to their critics and alternate views.

    The best relationships are built on trust and respect where respect others views, strengths and weaknesses. Having those debates allows us to learn from others’ strengths and identify our own weaknesses.


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