Updated: January 23, 2017. A link added to Section 5: Expectations. Article posted, "To defuse an argument think-about the future."
Updated: December 12, 2016. Link added to Step 2 of the Offense. Political argument between news reporter and new American administration official. Can you guess what the COG is?
The Argument Advantage is an advanced communication course for leaders. It is designed to not only help you communicate the "right" ideas but also effectively defend them. Overall, this education will give you a competitive edge that can make all the difference in earning a promotion, increasing your salary, developing the right relationships, or just getting what you want in life.
This course was originally a multi-day facilitation for senior business leaders in the boardroom; now, it is designed for you, whether you are a student of leadership, an entrepreneur, a leader or want to become one.
The three critical areas are covered:
1) Thinking: Gain the tools and the know-how to clearly and quickly develop the "right" ideas and to improve your decision-making.
2) Communication: Understand how to clearly and succinctly articulate those "right" ideas to others. Greatly improve the odds of not being misunderstood; avoid the communication pitfalls that others fall into it.
3) Argument: Avoid compromising your reputation by ineffectively defending yourself. Learn when and how to decisively defend your ideas in a constructive manner - and look like a rock-star doing it! Gain a reputation as someone who knows what they are talking about.
The curriculum is unique and borrows from a variety of sources. For instance, the disciplines of philosophy, logic, communication studies, behavioral science, and military history are incorporated. The works of specific people and institutions are utilized, ranging from Aristotle to the Central Intelligence Agency. The quizzes reinforce the lessons through a range of questions, from the simple true or false to the complex situational multiple choice.
This is a testimonial from Tammy Valdez, a seasoned senior executive in Arizona, USA. She put her team through the Argument Advantage when it was a multi-day facilitation.
This is a testimonial from Doug Kaplan, a business executive in Arizona, USA. He says the Argument Advantage supported him in getting promoted from a director to a vice president.
Make sure to read this prior to engaging in the course. It sets expectations as well as addresses the overall experience of the Argument Advantage.
This quiz is an initial survey. It acts a tool to gauge your current understanding of argument. Don't worry about not getting the right answer! Just answer honestly.
The purpose of this survey is to act as a baseline to help measure the progression you will make once you've completed the videos and quiz questions. You'll take a final survey at the end of the course (something very similar to this). It will help you see how much you've developed in terms of understanding thinking, communication and argument.
A brief examination of "Fundamentals." Here we cover three basic "rules of engagement" that should determine whether or not you should engage in an argument in the first place.
We examine the three most fundamental modes of thinking. They significantly influence how ideas are formulated, communicated and ultimately defended. Understanding them will greatly assist you in ensuring your ideas correspond to reality; they will also help you defend yourself when others use false alternative modes of thinking against you.
External resource added 1/9/15. Given the statements of Selma's director, which mode of perception comes to mind?
A mixture of questions to reinforce lessons in the "Trinity" videos.
We explore the nature of logic, what it is and what it is not. Grasping it will make all the difference in developing the "right" ideas. Make sure to do the quiz right after this video. It provides numerous examples of to reinforce the lessons.
A mixture of questions to reinforce lessons in Logic videos.
A brief overview of the Thinking section. Understand! this is the most important part of this course in that it sets the foundation for communication and argument.
A very brief introduction to concepts and why they are important. Four audio files follow this introduction. Make sure to focus on actual concepts and their relationship to percepts.
To understand concepts we must understand what makes humans distinct from other animals. Here we will be introduced to two levels of awareness that are prominent in human thinking and communication, perception and conception. Understanding how they are distinct from another will greatly support you in developing ideas that are clear, free from ambiguity.
This audio file covers the relationship between percepts and concepts to group activities, to include business. Understanding their distinctiveness will assist you in developing and communicating ideas that are appropriate to particular positions in an organization.
Concepts are the building blocks of ideas, and yet they are rarely understood. Grasping what they are in addition to the role they play in ideas can significantly help one ensure their ideas are clear and accurate. The "Concept Model" tool is provided to assist you. This model will be used throughout the entire course in more detail.
Two examples are covered. One is an extension of a previous example and the other is a new one.
This quiz is designed to assist you in better understanding concepts and their role in thinking. Use the Concept Model to assist you.
Content refers to the substance of an idea or topic. We examine the notion of linkage, value, and definitions vs. descriptions. Note: The example of "business strategy" introduced early in the video is examined in detail with the following audio file. The quiz will help you reinforce the lessons provided.
This is an extension of a previous example used in the Content video. An attachment is provided to assist you in connecting high level concepts down to the perceptual level, and then back up again if necessary.
A mixture of questions to reinforce lessons in the "Content" videos.
Everyone has a bias. This segment examines why this is the case and how to spot, and ultimately avoid, unnecessary influences when interpreting ideas or topics.
Here we must identify the fundamental premises that likely influenced a conclusion.
Where you reside in the levels of awareness affects how you formulate ideas and ultimately articulate them. Here we examine the impact of images, or percepts, used in thinking.
A mixture of questions to reinforce lessons in the "Perceptual Detractors" video.
This is the first of two videos dealing with conclusions. This file focuses on how to ensure your ideas are free from error and are ultimately defensible. It is divided into four sections: conclusions, process of elimination, rationalization, and ensuring quality. A link to an open source that employs Richards Heuer's Analysis of Competing Hypotheses is provided for those interested in a more detailed resource.
A mixture of questions to reinforce lessons in the "Conclusion" video.
This is the second part of conclusions. This video focuses on organizing your conclusion and premises in a manner that makes them clear to you and to your audience. Make sure to use the two attachments when taking the quiz.
A mixture of questions to reinforce lessons in the "Structure" video.
A brief overview of the communication course, prefaced by two general rules to keep in mind whenever you communicate.
Three measureable standards in communication that make all the difference in ensuring people understand what you want them to understand.
A specialized format of communication for leaders when speaking. The model is Task, Purpose and Outcome. It addresses how to ensure your assignments are connected to larger goals.
This quiz is about identifying the two most common units of actionable communication, Task and Purpose. Identify whether or not the statement includes both task and purpose.
A message must be tailored according to the audience. In organizations, the audience is positioned according to their position within the levels of operations, the tactical, the operational, and the strategic.
Identify which of the following scenarios reflects the proper way to communicate relative to their roles in communication.
The natural behavioral tendencies that often influence how a message is received, despite the truth to its content.
A mixture of questions to reinforce lessons in the "Delivery" video.
This video provides a brief explanation to entire argument section. It addresses what argument is and why it is important to you and to your organization.
What does success or failure look like when you argue? Here are the basics of what you should expect if and when you are challenged.
Two fundamental levels of an argument exist, one that is legitimate and the other that is not. Engaging in the latter will reveal you to be inexperienced and ultimately injure your credibility as a leader.
Questions to reinforce lessons in the "Levels of Argument" video.
This video provides an overview of how to defend your ideas. It then goes into the 1st Line of Defense, "Deflection." This type of engagement teaches you to protect yourself from fallacious ideas as well as how to spot them when they are presented to you.
An attempt to get you to do the impossible: prove a "negative." The most important principle in argument (and in logic) is discussed, the "onus of proof" principle.
This is an interesting tactic used by some to plant a plausible idea (based on supposed evidence) in your head while ultimately not providing evidence. It follows the appeal to ignorance for the reason that "positives" and "negatives" are covered.
Invoking emotions or passions as a substitute for reasoning.
The substitute for reasoning by relying on the reverence for authority.
The use of specialized language as a tool of intimidation.
Using the threat of harm to gain agreement instead of reason.
The attempt to bypass the issue by personally "attacking the messenger." Check out the comment from Mr. Weiss on LinkedIn link. It is one of the first ones in the comment section.
The attempt to bypass the issue by "attacking the messenger," specifically the circumstances surrounding him/her.
Causing ambiguity in a position through different interpretations of a word used more than once.
Intellectual intimidation through the suggestion of naiveté.
Improperly developed ideas that demonstrate circular reasoning.
Misrepresenting the existence of other alternatives to a proposition.
Two common errors in establishing general truths.
Fill in the blank to identify the logical fallacy.
Identify the logical fallacy.
What happens when an argument is made that you disagree with and it is not fallacious? Here we look at the AMP model. This model should support you in ensuring your own ideas are free from error, or at least have the greatest probability of being true. This model will also help you in arguing by casting doubt on your opponent's position. Make sure to check out external links used as evidence.
Questions to reinforce lessons in the "2nd Line of Defense" video.
Knowing how and when to engage in an argument.
Identifying what is truly important in a position, the Center of Gravity. Make sure you do the quiz as many examples are provided.
These questions are designed to help you better understand the Center of Gravity.
How to prevent distraction when arguing your point given continuous resistance. Make sure to do the quiz as several situational examples are provided.
Three situational questions based on "The Offense - Step 3" video.
The final step in argument, select your approach. Here we employ the ideas of two major military theorists, Karl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. Use the attached Power Point to illustrate both approaches.
New External Resource (1/12/15): This is a great example of a direct approach. Alan Dershowitz (a prominent US lawyer) denies sexual allegations on live TV. Observe how definitive his position is. He lays out his case in clear, emphatic terms. He also anticipates counter arguments which he decisively addresses.
Questions to reinforce lessons in the "The Offense - Step 4" video.
You've successfully made your point. Is the argument over? No. Here are two seemingly harmless retorts by an opponent that may feel they've lost the upper hand to you. Accepting these seemingly innocent appeals can subvert your credibility in the long-run.
A congratulations and a farewell! I hope to see you again, soon!
Congrats! Now it is time for the final survey. It is a tool to gauge your understanding of thinking, communication, and argument now that you've completed the course. Make sure to compare your answers to the initial survey. Additional information will be provided on this site to help you compare your development to that of other students. Good luck!
Kevin is a veteran US Army officer and seasoned entrepreneur, nationally recognized for strategy and leadership development services. His personal mission is to help other leaders actualize their potential by providing them an elite leadership education - the product of nearly two decades in both the public and private sector.
He has helped clients across a variety of industries, profit and non-profit. One client increased their customer base from 30,000 to one million in 18 months. Using his intellectual property on leadership and strategy, one for-profit client executed an initial public offering and a non-profit client increased donations from $200,000 to $3 million in 24 months. Overall, Kevin’s work has helped create over $500 million of value.
Kevin has a Bachelors of Arts in History from the Virginia Military Institute, a Master’s of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from Arizona State University and a Master’s of Business Administration from the W.P. Carey School of Business. He is a certified trainer in the behavioral science tool, Professional Dynametrics Program. He teaches military history at the Scottsdale Community College. Kevin currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his two Australian Cattle Dogs, Aetius and Summer.