Long before communication scientists began studying persuasion, 17th century philosopher Blaise Pascal said that when we wish to change a person’s mind, “we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, then reveal to him the side on which it is false.”
In other words, meet your skeptics on their own turf (Tweet it!). If you want someone to adopt your point of view, first tell them where they are right, then tell them where their information is incomplete.
Says Arthur Markman, psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin, “One of the first things you have to do to give someone permission to change their mind is to lower their defenses and prevent them from digging in their heels...If I immediately tell you all the ways in which you’re wrong, there’s no incentive for you to co-operate. But if I start by saying, ‘You make a couple of really good points here, I think these are important issues,’ now you’re giving the other party a reason to want to co-operate as part of the exchange.” (http://bit.ly/2j1yIuT)
Only when you have engagement based on some measure of common ground can you nudge opposite views toward your direction.
Can you think of an occasion when someone successfully changed your mind? How did they do it, and what did you learn from their approach? To join the conversation, click comments below.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion
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