Actually trying to understand how those you disagree with think, rather than just accepting some straw man version, can make one a much better debater. Bryan Caplan's ideological Turing test is not just about empathy and being open to opposing arguments, but it also pays dividends in making better arguments for one's own positions. I love how Jesse Walker begins his pitch to Conservatives against the death penalty:
The typical conservative is well informed about the careless errors routinely made by the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service, and city hall. If he's a policy wonk, he may have bookmarked the Office of Management and Budget's online list of federal programs that manage to issue more than $750 million in mistaken payments each year. He understands the incentives that can make an entrenched bureaucracy unwilling to acknowledge, let alone correct, its mistakes. He doesn't trust the government to manage anything properly, even the things he thinks it should be managing.
Except, apparently, the minor matter of who gets to live or die. Bring up the death penalty, and many conservatives will suddenly exhibit enough faith in government competence to keep the Center for American Progress afloat for a year. Yet the system that kills convicts is riddled with errors.