We have weekly meetings of around 10 people. One of those 10 people has won various debate tournaments and qualified for national debate competitions in his past. As a result, whenever we are deciding on a matter, he can easily convince the rest of the room.
However, I've noticed that the reasons his arguments are compelling are not always the actual content but rather other "debate tactics" that he gained from experience, such as
- Very confident tone and clear articulation
- Ability to instantly generate rebuttals
- Rebuts by finding minor flaws in minor points of an argument and then acting like that disproves the heart of the argument. His confidence helps in making it seem like he disproved the entire argument.
- Using leading questions, such as "Isn't it true that action X will provide benefits such as A, B, C"?
- Admitting that it seems that the other person made a compelling argument, but then proceeding to methodically and systematically tear apart their argument; by making it systematic, even if all their points at each step in disassembling don't make sense, their systematic approach strengthens the perception people have of their argument.
- Utilizing a sophisticated vocabulary
And many other tactics that are based upon persuading others not through the content of the argument but rather through other factors such as word choice, delivery, meticulous attacks on particular parts of arguments, etc.
I could try to call him out but I don't doubt that he'll have a response that will just make me appear wrong. I've talked to the people who don't speak much during meetings (and thus haven't engaged with him) and they almost always seem to agree with him.
I can't beat him in debating because of those tactics that he uses, but there are still business matters that need to be deliberated upon.
How can we discuss business matters without his debate tactics obscuring the actual content of the matters discussed?
I understand that in all meetings around the world someone will have an upper hand because of their speech and delivery, but here it is just extremely prominent due to his debate history. I fear that it may lead to us not making the best decisions possible by best evaluating all options.