Discussion can go out of hand. This is a form of communication where all aspects pass by. Therefore here are some basic tips I gathered after a thorough observation at work and in my spare time.
Stay on topic
First and foremost: stay on topic. Don’t drag the discussion to another subject even if that has something to do with the topic. Stay focused otherwise the discussion will wander around without a clear end.
The truth is relative
Sometimes people in a discussion say “I heard that ….” and see this information as the truth. The truth is relative. What you believe is the truth, is not for others unless you can support this with a valid source or better with valid data. However if the discussion is about how you feel, it would be difficult to convince others because it has to do with how you see things. There is a broad range of perception or view on how people see one same thing.
Let them speak
Let the other finish before you speak. Let them make their point clearly. And focus on what you have to say. Do not only hear but listen carefully.
Avoid getting personal
Some participants in a discussion get personal. This is mean and unnecessary. Their remark could be about physique (example: fat ass, ugly face etc…) or how the other is in their eyes (example: dumb, ignorant even calling someone a racist). Spare your time and energy if you meet people like this, end the discussion politely without doing the same thing.
You earn respect but can’t force it. If you respect the other, show it. Do not expect others to respect you because YOU THINK you are; older, more intellectual, more experienced etc. Respect does not have anything to do with that.
Keep your voice down
Offline it means lowering your voice, online means no excesssive use of caps lock & punctuation. Excessive use of caps lock and punctuation only decrease the meaning of the message you send.
Discussion or debate is to express one’s opinion. In ideal situation the goal is convincing the other. You know then the point of view of your discussion partner and you can’t change that. When this doesn’t work, see this and end the discussion. You agree to disagree.