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Ian O'Byrne

How to debate

1 min read

We've all been in that situation where a informal conversation quickly becomes a discussion and then we find ourselves in a debate.

A debate is a wonderful opportunity to flex your intellectual muscles and can lead to a deeper level of understanding for all individuals involved.

A proper debate requires intellectual nimbleness, rigor, and attention. There is a need to remain open-minded and cognitively flexible to account for variations in the truth, situation, or the debate itself.

Debate also requires an understanding of the facts. It also requires an understanding of what you don't know.


There are several keys to engaging in a debate:

  • Know your facts. Know what you don't know.
  • Put yourself in your opponent's shoes and understand their views.
  • Don't recite & regurgitate their views. Give it your spin.
  • Find a common ground.
  • Consider and concede when you're wrong.
  • Stay calm and civil.


Keep in mind that it is important for these keys to be followed by both parties in a debate.


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Ian O'Byrne

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. - Marcus Aurelius