The Balanced Argument

The power of balancing the pros and cons of a case

Weighing the Pros and Cons – A Tricky Balance

You are to deliver a presentation where it’s important that you persuade the audience to your point of view. Have you considered employing the power of the balanced argument?

Could it be that you want to sell them something or persuade them to take a certain course of action. So how about giving them an alternative solution, an option?

What?! Are you serious? Why on earth would you encourage them to do the opposite of what you want?

That’s a very good question. Shall we explain?

In this article we’ll explore the power of the balanced argument. And why it might just work.

Speaking of Decisions

Decisions can be hard, can’t they? Do you go this way or that way? Should you buy this product or that one? Where should to go on holiday?

You mull them over, do your research, look at the pros and cons. Perhaps you ask others for their views.

It can all be quite confusing.

Wouldn’t most of us prefer someone to take us through the decision making process and recommend the best course of action or the product to buy? Yes?

Could you be that person? Hold that thought.

Balanced Argument Power

Before we go any further, it’s time to pop back to school.

According to educational resource provider, Twinkl, “It is critical to introduce children to this concept (the balanced argument) at an early age because this kind of writing and argumentation is used throughout education, from KS2 to university.”  (KS2: Key Stage 2 – ages 7 to 11).

So the concept of the balanced argument is considered important enough to be used in the National Curriculum.

But we rarely use the approach in our speeches. Are we missing out?

Twinkl explains:

“The key with balanced arguments is to present both sides of an argument, providing evidence for both, even if you are choosing to argue one way or another. Doing this successfully, showing that your argument is not ‘biased’, is a great way to lend credibility to your argument.”

Balancing the Decision

Boost Credibility

Did they say I’d be more credible if I presented a balanced argument?

Yes they did. That’s the power of the balanced argument!

If you establish your credibility, it is a powerful step towards making your case. And yet we often overlook it when trying to convince others to take a particular course of action.

At its simplest level, presenting a complete picture demonstrates your knowledge of whatever subject you are speaking on.

It also shows that you have an appreciation that there may be reasonable alternatives to your proposition. That certainly helps your credibility.

So how to go about it?

Balance Planning – Pros and Cons

As with planning any other speech or presentation, jot down anything that comes into your head that may be relevant, regardless of which side of the argument it represents.

When you have all your ideas written down, separate them into pros and cons for your chosen case, and match them up. Put another way, make sure every element has a balancing perspective.

If it doesn’t balance, think really hard to try to see a different point of view that someone else might argue. It could be helpful to involve a friend or colleague to play devil’s advocate.

Structuring Balance

When presenting a balanced argument there are two approaches you can take.

If there are relatively few main elements, you could present both sides of the argument for each element in turn. The benefit of this is that the relevant information would be fresh in the minds of the audience for each aspect.

But the more usual approach is to outline the complete case for one course of action before presenting the opposite case.

What Is Your Aim?

At this point you need to consider what you are trying to achieve. Is your purpose to inform the audience and leave them to decide on which position they support? If so, it’s time to sum up the key points for each side and be done.

However, it’s more likely that you want to convince the listeners to a particular course of action. In which case, the most effective approach is firstly to present the argument for the action that you do not support.

Then present the side you favour. The details of the second case will be more firmly imprinted in the minds of the audience. Therefore they are more likely to support it.

Reinforce your favoured case by summing up the key points of each side and explain why you believe the second option to be superior.

Keeping The Balance

The balanced argument - presenting both sides of the case equally

So there we have it. Keep the balance and let the audience decide on which case they prefer or use the balanced argument to influence them to your way of thinking.

And that’s the power of the balanced argument. Still think we’re unbalanced for suggesting it?

This post was last updated 21st March 2024



Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter to receive blog updates.

Similar Posts