Winning Arguments

How To Win An Argument:  A Useful Metaphor
Sometimes it’s necessary to indicate your lack of involvement in a controversy or a side issue.  Here’s a colorful metaphor that can work well in that kind of situation:  “I don’t have a dog in this fight.”  (This metaphor, incidentally,  is used effectively by the protagonist in the movie “The Social Network.”)

Your opponent (or an interviewer) may want to focus on an issue that you don’t want to pursue for strategic reasons.  If you say  “I don’t have a dog in this fight,” it positions you  to make a follow-up statement, such as “What I am interested in is…” or “what I am fighting for is…”

In the unlikely event that the person you are talking with finds fault with your metaphor, perhaps saying “This isn’t a dog fight,” you can reply, “It has the feel of one…That’s why I’m not involved.”

Winning arguments is not just about logic.  Arguments often are won by how well protagonists position themselves, by how well they manage to keep the argument focused.

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