Overview

Putting forth a convincing argument

If you want to argue effectively and convincingly, the structure of the argument is pivotal. To learn how to construct a good argument, the participants should go through this exercise at least twice.

  1. Write down the 6 steps of a good argument on 6 large sheets of paper:
    a. Introduction
    b. Claim
    c. Arguments
    d. Examples
    e. Refuting objections
    f. Conclusion
  2. Tape the sheets to the floor at least 1 meter apart.
  3. Ask the participants to take turns speaking using this argument structure. It is important that the exercise is done quickly without interruptions.
  4. Ask the first speaker to present their argumentation. Give them a random Dialoogle card and ask them to choose a topic based on the picture.
  5. Give the speaker a maximum of 10 seconds to reflect – and then ask them to stand on the first sheet of paper and start their introduction. You can support them with the question: ”What do you want to tell us about?”
  6. Right after they have finished their introduction, the speaker moves to the second sheet and submits their claim. Here you can help with the question: ”What is your claim?”
  7. The speaker then moves to the third sheet and begins to argue for their claim. If they need help, you can assist by asking: ”Why do you think that….?”
  8. Immediately after, the speaker moves to the fourth sheet and submits their examples. At this step, many speakers will just continue their argumentation. Therefore, it is important that you encourage the speaker to come up with concrete examples. You can do this by asking: ”Can you give us some concrete examples?”. The most effective examples involves the speaker using a first-person narrative.
  9. On the fifth sheet, you may challenge the speaker with objections and counter-arguments: ”Now, it is not everyone who thinks…”  or ”I do not experience it as a problem that….”
  10. Now it’s time for the speaker to finish their argumentation. You can support them by asking: ”Can you summarize and suggest a possible solution?”
  11. When all participants have been through the first round, you repeat the exercise, preferably without the support questions.

After this training, it could be fun and useful to do group exercise with the participants. Ask the participants to imagine that they are city council members from different political parties. The city council has been granted £1,5 mill. from a deceased citizen. Now the city council have to decide how to use the money. This exercise will demonstrate how effective this argument structure is. Those with the most captivating examples will generally get the biggest support.

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