5 techniques to ensure victory in all your online debates

All the intellectual elites know that the interwebs are for destroying everyone who disagrees with you. This comes naturally to people like me who possess superior intelligence and unmatched wit. However, if you’re an averagé civilian, use the following techniques to ensure you are victorious each and every time you debate online.

You may believe that the interwebs are for connecting with old friends, keeping up with your out-of-town family members, or something else equally ridiculous. If so, you are a naïve fool. All the intellectual elites know that the interwebs are for destroying everyone who disagrees with you. This comes naturally to people like me who possess superior intelligence and unmatched wit. However, if you’re an averagé civilian, use the following techniques to ensure you are victorious each and every time you debate online.

60percentitworkseverytime

1) Use your grammar gun and spelling sword

The first rule of online arguments is that the first person to make a typo loses. The content is irrelevant – if they used “there” instead of “their,” it’s over. Just say, “You mean ‘their’? Lolz, you’re an uneducated buffoon.” BOOM, you win!

2) Abruptly become too mature and busy for the argument

aintnobodygottimeforthatIt’s very important you don’t let your opponent get the upper hand. If they start sounding pretty smart and convincing, spontaneously evolve into a mature, working person who does not have time for this nonsense. Make a witty remark about how they must not have a job and exit the conversation with a beautifully crafted spirit of condescension.

3) Name-call them into submission

Poop_Emoji
If short on time, you can always just leave this poop emoji instead of spelling out “poophead”

A timeless online debate technique is to reach deep to your middle school roots and start calling your opponent names. “Libtard” is a great go-to if you’re a conservative arguing with a liberal, and “Ignorant fascist” is an all-purpose name for most conservatives. If it isn’t political, you can never go wrong with “poophead.”

4) Use links and memes instead of your own words

Don’t get suckered into spending a lot of time formulating intelligent arguments. I highly recommend posting links to multiple, lengthy articles in response to your opponents comments. This is brilliant because it makes you look like you are backed by legit data. Plus, there’s a 99% chance no one will actually read the links. Seriously, I once cowed an opponent into silence by rapidly posting 5 links to recipes for different variations of whoopie pies. Memes are also particularly useful. I mean, who can argue against the condescending Willy Wonka?

5) Flood them with a tsunami of words

tsunami
Imagine each water molecule is a word! (pixabay free images)

If all else fails, just make all your comments exceed 1,200 words. The key is to basically drown your opponent with a flood of words that even the most patient of interweb users could never bear to read through and make sense of what you’re saying. This way, no matter how they reply, you can just say “Did you even read my response?” to which they will have to honestly say “no.” And there you go – victory!

There you go! Go get ‘em, little tiger!

DON’T YOU DARE READ THIS WITHOUT LIKING, COMMENTING, OR SHARING, YOU POOPHEAD!!

Public Speaking Tips for the Socially Anxious 

This is the longest and least funny of all my posts, but I felt led to share because my dread and avoidance of public speaking held me back socially and professionally for a depressingly long time. I ruled out entire jobs or career tracks if they involved talking to groups of people in any sort of formal way. In undergrad, on the first day of the semester, I would excuse myself to use the restroom so I wouldn’t have to introduce myself to the class. I would have a sick feeling in my tums for weeks leading up to a presentation, and when the time finally came I would just mumble through it as quickly as possible. Finally when I realized I *had* to go to grad school, and in grad school I would *have* to present stuff pretty often, I began to not just suffer through presentations or talks, but actually try to be good at them. It has been a long road full of embarrassing stumbles and inappropriate sweating, but now I’m not bad and kind of enjoy speaking in front of people. So, for those of you who would rather burn off your left pinky toe than speak in front of people, here is some advice from a former public speaking coward just like you

 Care about what you’re saying more than what people think about you When you focus on the best way to convey the info you’re presenting, you stop worrying as much about what you look and sound like. Sometimes it helps to take a step back from your talk and think about what you would want to hear someone else cover if they were giving the same talk. It’s not about you, it’s about the info.

Love your audience, even when they’re ru-ru Empathize with what it’s like to sit and be confused by a rambling speaker. Remember how bored you’ve been, and how it never made you hate or disrespect the speaker. Not once, but *twice* someone has fallen into a deep slumber during one of my presentations. One was an undergrad, but the other was the most prestigious faculty member in my grad program. I won’t lie, it actually made me laugh out loud. Some of the feedback on my talk was, “not sure why Alzheimer’s Disease is funny..” I also had a few sorority girls who used to mean-mug me whenever I taught. I highly recommend that you make a decision to think that sort of stuff is hilarious instead of intimidating, and carry on like your BFFs with everyone in the audience.

Don’t look at people who make you nervous There are some people – my own advisor, actually – who I *cannot* look at while I talk. Some people’s “listening faces” just come across distractingly grumpy, disdainful, bored, angry, etc. Don’t be derailed by accidental RBFs! I suggest looking for those 2-3 ppl who smile bravely and pleasantly throughout your talk, and talk to them.

Don’t plan to be funny This may shock those of you who know my jocular nature, but I **never** plan to crack up my audience. I’m not saying don’t use humor – but 1) if you plan for humor and get very nervous, it usually falls flat and makes you all the more uncomfortable and 2) it’s usually funnier if it’s genuinely in the moment. Trust me – nothing will give your audience the squirmies more than feeling vicarious embarrassment for you after a failed joke.

Practice saying your talk out loud, especially transitions This is an absolute must for me. Even if I can see an image, concept, or info very clearly in my own head (I often organize info in my head as a flow chart, vin diagram, or some other spatial organization), when I start to say it out loud, sometimes I realize it’s *really* difficult to communicate what’s in my head to any human being. One of my sisters is the best at Gallociphering, but most people are lost. So even if you have a great PowerPoint presentation and it all makes sense in your own head, take an hour or two to actually say your talk or presentation out loud. It’s best if you have a friend willing to subject themselves to the torture of listening to your practice. But, it can also work to give your talk to the mirror, or record it on your phone so it you have a bit more pressure to keep from lapsing into “saying” it in your own head. I’m also strangely sensitive to the feel of a room – fluorescent lighting and the smells in nasty old rooms nauseate me when I’m already nervous. So, if possible, try to practice in the same room that you’ll be speaking in. Or at the very least, take a peak and know what the set up will be like.

Don’t write out word for word notes  If you don’t have enough time to go through your entire talk, practice saying transitions and main points out loud. What your audience needs the most help with is getting the “take-aways” and drawing the connections between the info you’re presenting. Everyone has to figure out what works best for them, but I’ve found my talks go best when I memorize main points, transitions between slides, and the most complicated or technical concepts and details in my talk. But for the “filler” stuff in your talk, I would leave a little flexibility for yourself to improvise to a certain degree, so you’re not woodenly reading off a script. How much flexibility you give yourself will need to scale with your comfort in public speaking in general. When I first started speaking, I would clam up and go into autopilot, and just rattle through the bare minimum info. But as you get more experience, you’ll become become more comfortable going a little slower, pausing in-between points or slides to make sure you’ve covered everything, or coming up with examples on the fly.

Own your screw ups Sometimes I forget a pertinent piece of info, or a sentence I had smoothly rehearsed comes out as a incoherent jumble of nonsense. In the past this would have mortified me and ruined the rest of my talk. But I’ve learned that it works fine to pause, offer an endearing smile, and say something like, “Let me try that again.” And then carry on.

Visualize success As goofy as it may sound, vividly imagining myself KILLING IT in a talk gives me confidence when I’m actually up there. Whatever you do, don’t imagine yourself failing. You are likely to prophesy your own failure.

Pray Not just for yourself, but for your audience members, too. Especially if they’re going to be evaluating you in some way (e.g. decide whether or not you deserve this job), pray they will be filled with graciousness. Personally, it’s important for me to be anchored in the knowledge that I have access to the most intelligent, powerful being in existence – it reallllly makes those mortal, fallible committee members and undergrads seem much less threatening.

Enjoy it! I used to consider public speaking a miserable ordeal. If anything, I just hoped to survive without dishonoring the family name. But seriously, it’s possible to actually have fun while you speak. Although public speaking DOES have the potential to humiliate you in front of a lot of people, it also has the potential to make you shimmer like a competent diamond in front of a lot of people! Think about how difficult it is to get people’s attention and have influence. Yet for 30 min to an hour, you have a whole room of people’s attention and the opportunity to influence, teach, or convince them of something! Yowza! Don’t waste it 😉