Not so much a debate but a full blown out argument!

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Not so much a debate but a full blown out argument!

I guess all of us have, from time to time, become dragged into discussions that end up developing into arguments?  This week I want to explore the rapidly disappearing art of a well-constructed debate.  A debate, in contradiction to an argument, is supposed to explore differing views and opinions and to eventually come to some form of conclusion.  In a debate no one argument or opinion has authority over another. All are an essential component of the process.

In today’s politically correct world, the art of debate is becoming a rarer occurrence. Too many people are scared of being seen on the same platform as those with whom they strongly disagree in case of being somehow linked with their opponents. I even heard one politician criticize another for attending a debate where a well-known radical socialist was also talking part; it was as if he somehow sympathised with the views of his radical opponent.

The great thing about a really good debate is that it can end with you still liking the person but disagreeing, or even hating their views. I personally find tolerating even trivial racist comments and arguments extremely difficult, and yet, if I were to run away from them or to face up to them in an aggressive way then the debate would be over and never have a chance of advancing.

Spending time with those we disagree with, in the ambition to influence them into another direction, is never a waste of time for me. I have a few friends that I simply cannot align with on a number of topics, politics being one of them but none the less I always look forward to our inevitable after dinner debates.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than finding a soul mate who shares your views and outlook on life, but that experience is rare and very special and tends to drive ones thoughts inwards.

The point I am trying to make is that in our business lives and families too, it is vital for us to find a structure in which intelligent debate and discussion can occur and where diversity has a voice. As Voltaire, the eighteenth century French enlightenment writer once said (but is more likely to have been Evelyn Beatrice Hall) “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

Have a good a week


2016-11-17T08:23:33+00:000 Comments

About the Author:

Harley is a dynamic 'we can do this' kind of person with a successful track record of working for a wide variety of companies in all kinds of sectors. From very small family run businesses right through to giant multi-nationals. Over the last thirty five years Harley has built a reputation for inspiring those around him to rout out and tackle the core problems facing their organizations. Armed with a wide range of pragmatic tools that he has developed over the years, Harley is able to help his clients bring about long-term, sustainable solutions, while having fun at the same time. Harley is a motivational 'people person' who is nonetheless tough on efficiency and delivery. Apart from being well known for his highly entertaining and motivational speeches, Harley is also a blogger and author of four books; 'The Change Manager's Handbook', 'Transition', 'Inspirational Leadership’ and ‘Making a Difference’.

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