Argument Structure


Argument Structure

When you were in high school, It was required that you would write a term paper before you could earn your diploma. Teachers would say that it didn’t matter what you wrote about, so long as you could form arguments. If you went to a university, you couldn’t graduate until you turned in your senior paper. It didn’t matter what your topic was, as long as you made sound arguments.

(I did my senior high school paper on steroids in sports. 1989. C-. Nice effort, Matt)

The idea of crafting an argument goes back thousands of years to the ancient Greeks. A structured argument contains a claim, data, and a warrant. At least that is how I remember it. Let’s think of our Argument as a mental model:

Claim-Your opinion. You stick your stake in the ground.

Data- Evidence, preferably numeric. Facts.

Warrant- Powerful summary. The benefit to society if I am right. Another nice way to warranty an argument, is to present this scenario: What if I am wrong? Then…etc.   (You would then go and paint a picture of a terrible world where your argument is wrong.)

In sales we are trying to be persuasive. In business we are trying to think correctly. The idea of an argument is a terribly simple idea. But it is one that we should take seriously.

Please share your thoughts here…


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