Don’t get so caught up in making your argument that you forget there’s always another side to the issue. Don’t confuse making an argument (i.e., building) with having an argument (i.e., fighting). Think Oprah, rather than Jerry Springer. When you construct a good argument, you always give the other side the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they have good reasons for taking the stand they take. Reasons that are just as important to them as yours are to you. So spend some time looking at things from their perspective, and do it in front of your readers. At some point, try to inhabit the position of the people who think differently from you. Rehearse their position within your own text, and not just so you can take it apart and dispense with it, but so you can show that you’ve fully considered where those other people are coming from and why they think the way they do. Show them the same respect you expect to be shown. Civil discourse in a democratic society demands that we listen to each other and make room for each other’s perspectives. It’s not easy, and we often fail, but perhaps practice makes (closer to) perfect. If your essay is to be persuasive, you want to come across as someone who has considered all options before settling on a conclusion, not someone who insists on preconceived notions and refuses to listen to anybody else. As you construct your argument, you may think you are proceeding along one path, with its own perspective and values, diametrically opposed to some other viewpoint, but if you can imagine that you and the person with whom you disagree are both actually on the same path, then it might be a little easier to treat each other not as combatants, each looking inward and tenaciously clinging to preconceived notions, but as intellectual companions, in pursuit of truth together.