Background information on the seminar topic "Argumentation Training and Persuasion Technique"

Everyday discussions

Where people meet, different opinions meet also. Informing, convincing or negotiating a compromise - there are many reasons for an exchange of views.

This can lead to discussions in which everyone tries to convince the other person of his or her opinion. However, it is not necessarily the party with the best substantive arguments that is successful, but those who can market themselves more skilfully. Accordingly, methodical reasoning and discussion, also called dialectics, has a long history. It was the ancient Greeks who first coined this term.

In early Rome, too, the right way of conducting conversations was called rhetoric and was seen as an essential ability. The name of Cicero, who was considered the most talented speaker of his time, is still well-known today. The most common form of persuasion is that of argument and counterargument, with which one underpins one's own opinion and undermines that of the opponent.

Often however, non-objective arguments can be found in an otherwise serious discussion, for example involving polemics or personal insults. And so other tactics and stylistic devices have also become an indispensable part of a well-run discussion.

An important part of discussions is interaction. Convincing body language and good knowledge of human nature can thus become a decisive advantage.

However, the most important contributing factor to a successful argument is good preparation and sufficient experience. In this way, everyone can learn the methods of persuasion and train themselves in sound argumentation techniques.

Seminars on argumentation training and persuasion techniques are conducted by the Management Institute Dr. A. Kitzmann in Münster, Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich.

Author: Management Institute Dr. A. Kitzmann

Further background information can be found here.

Argue like a professional - we will support you!


Argumentation training and persuasion technique

Confident management of discussions


Eloquence and persuasiveness in practice

Body language

Detecting the hidden signals

Unfortunately, no basic rhetorical training is embedded in school curriculums. This basic training could give many people a new perspective with regard to their own presentation and external impact.

Even in the context of university studies, there are some courses where oral examinations or defenses of the final thesis are not planned at all. This form of examination is actually a good method of presentation techniques training and practicing the use of rhetorical devices. Especially in technical and scientific professions, there may be little room for practicing rhetorical language in presentations. The focus here is often on exploring objective factors. Nevertheless, it is of course possible to practice the art of rhetoric. For example, one can take the great models of Greek and Roman antiquity as a model - the artists in the use of rhetoric. In the course of professional life, practice has an unbeatable advantage: the technique of speaking is mastered! Often the question after 'How do I talk?" can have a decisive impact on the persuasiveness of expertise.

  • Definitions
  • Facts
  • Figures

are often part of a speech. It is important to find a good measure, otherwise they can be perceived as disturbing factors for the listener. This information must therefore be skilfully "staged" so that it convinces the listener.

  • Closeness and distance
  • Change of perspective
  • Authenticity
  • Attention
  • Language

are the key competencies for good persuasion. A sense of closeness and distance is what opens up the space for a conversation. People who lean too far forward or backward can send the wrong signals about their relationship with the person. In order to engage with the person you are talking to, it is important to understand the other person's perspective. In terms of closeness and distance, he or she can serve as a role model.

The change of perspective in argumentation

But the change of perspective can do much more. Through it the conversation partners can understand the view of the other argumentation basis and respond to each other. Who only insists on his own attitude, encounters rejection. In order to be convincing, it therefore makes sense to start with the perspective of the other person: "I can understand ...".

TIP: As an expert in your subject area, you have acquired a certain amount of knowledge. Therefore, when talking to people from other fields, it is important not to appear arrogant. Being open to other topics shows your interest and gives your interviewer a sense of security. Asking questions about certain aspects is something you will dare to do.

Being authentic is very important in the persuasion technique. People react to the smallest signals of the other person and therefore it is important to feel comfortable in your own point of view. Authenticity can be disturbed by stress. Therefore, before any conversation, it is important to allow time.

TIP: As petty as this sounds, a good handshake tells the other person what kind of person you are and whether you feel comfortable in the conversational situation. Ask people around you how their handshake affects him/her.

What the preceding key skills have in common is attention. In routine conversations, you may find yourself "side-eyeing" the conversation. Without attention, important information can be lost in the conversation or your counterpart may not feel taken seriously. It is therefore important to pay close attention to what your counterpart is saying and also to his or her gestures and facial expressions.

Language is not only about sound, but also about gestures and facial expressions. Body language can convey a lot and sympathy is also transported via facial expressions and gestures. Sympathy and seriousness are the foundations for persuasive arguments in a conversation.

These key skills in a persuasive conversation can be very helpful and decisive. In order to promote a project or an idea, it is therefore necessary to pay attention to one's own charisma and language in addition to the advantages of the product. In order to be able to present arguments, it needs rhetorical authority from word choice, sentence structure, linguistic pictures, voice and body language. If there is a unity of person and effect here, one can radiate a great persuasive power.

Author: Management Institute Dr. A. Kitzmann