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4 Unconventional Ways to Convince Others Easily

4 Unconventional Ways to Convince Others Easily

Maybe it’s your die hard conservative uncle, or maybe it’s your vegan friend who calls everyone who disagrees with him a murderer. The point is, everyone knows someone they just can’t convince to see their way. Dealing with these kinds of people is ridiculously frustrating!

For many of us, when we’re talking to these people we’re stuck wondering — how the hell do we get them to see reason? If there were some easy ways to convince them wouldn’t we have stumbled upon it by now? What if we could easily and compassionately show people that maybe they’re not as smart as they think they are…and that, in fact, their views are less developed than they might otherwise believe? Well — turns out that after all this time — there is a way.

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Here are the four steps to follow when trying to convince others:

1. Ask your opponent to explain the HOW and not the WHY

In a recent article on Business Insider, Drake Baer explained that the best way to make a debate opponent agree with you is to simply ask them how they would implement their views. The reason this works is because when people really have to take the time to think through their beliefs, then many of the “less thought-out ideas” become obvious, and are a lot easier to prove wrong. As they continue to talk they’ll increasingly realize that “Oh wait… I don’t know as much as I thought I did about this topic” and they will often adopt more moderate views.

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In some ways this idea seems kind of natural to me — after all, isn’t proving to your opponent the weakness of their foundational beliefs a key aspect to any argument? What this method does well is that it gives you a single effective question to force your opponent to show the logic behind their thinking. It helps to elevate both sides of the argument and gives everyone a chance to learn something.

2. Agree with your opponent

In my opinion, this partially ties in with a really interesting idea that Dale Carnegie touches on in his classic text How To Win Friends And Influence People. In the classic book he says that in order to convince someone in an argument you have to agree with your opponent. In some ways that is really just a continuation on the previous train of thought, because after all — if you agree with your opponent on a basic thing — then they are essentially obligated to figure out how the logic of their next point ties into the previous notion. Ultimately, as they start to further think things through they will be forced to entertain more moderate views, and become more open to seeing your side of things…unless of course you’ve been outmatched!

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The thing is — arguments usually become more radicalized when people begin to disagree. The more people disagree, the more they end up becoming convinced that they were right in the first place. By agreeing with your opponent and showing that you are not a monster who refuses to think things through, you are helping to establish your credibility. Once you have established credibility, then your opponent has to listen to you and pick apart what you have to say — giving you a chance to prove once and for all why you are right and they are wrong.

3. Present actionable points

This point may seem obvious at first but I think its apparent obviousness speaks to how hard it is to get right. In many ways this links right back into the first point — if you don’t know how you want to do whatever you are arguing for then your argument is essentially invalid. Beyond that though, having actionable points is a great way to convince people to see your way because it shows that you have researched the topic and know what you are talking about. Clearly, that kind of legitimacy is essential if you want to have any sort of success in proving a point.

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One thing I’ve found is that it’s better when you can find actions that have worked in similar situations. For example — let’s say you are a supporter of accepting immigrants to the U.S., and your opponent is a supporter of Donald Trump, and is trying to defend the idea of building some sort of wall to keep immigrants out. You could bring up the fact that similar attempts at sequestering a population led to extreme strife and ended up costing the state far more money tan they ever thought it could. The point being — knowing your shit is essential if you want to have actionable points people will respect.

After all, would you listen to the argument of someone who didn’t have any?

4. Be careful and respectful

To pull off most of these notions you need to have your own arguments properly set up. After all, even if you can prove that your opponent’s argument is invalid, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your side is any better! Far too often I’ve seen arguments crumble into people just hurling insults because they lost the desire to be careful with their points. Building off previous points, remember the following: If your opponent catches you off guard, don’t try and dismiss them. Rather, thank them for it and see if you can amend your position to include the flaw in your reasoning. If you prove that you can be reasonable your opponent will respect you all the more.

Let’s be real — arguing can be fun; many of you probably were in your high school debate club. It can be a good way to exercise your mind, but within all of us I think there is some desire to win. And by following this last point you can make sure that even if you don’t win, everybody will have a good time. No one wants to go in an argument that is intentionally hurtful or divisive. By following these points, you will gradually convince your adversaries to side with you while making sure that they don’t end up hating you — or becoming all the more obsessed with their own views.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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