We have all heard of a straw-man argument: represent your opponents case as weakly as possible, then knock it down.

I'm now a big fan of strongman arguments: start any argument by representing your opponent as strongly as you can. The first thing it says is you take your opponent seriously. And that you take your own thoughts on the matter seriously, too. You have thought it over deeply, looked sharply at both sides, and have cogent and expressible reasons why you believe as you do. It lifts the argument, and creates a aura of respect sorely lacking in ideological arguments these days.