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How To Change People’s Minds: Show Them The Whole Picture Instead Of Proving Them Wrong

How To Change People’s Minds: Show Them The Whole Picture Instead Of Proving Them Wrong

Human has the ability to think and that’s what makes our world creative. But owing to such diversified thinking, sometimes it is inevitable for us to come across disagreement.

It can be great or small, such as colleagues debating corporate strategy, family members discussing holiday destination, or friends arguing what to eat for dinner. Sometimes you win an argument but sometimes you don’t.

Despite the fact that disagreement happens from time to time, it is important for us to learn the art of persuasion because if we are unable to persuade, we can only be the influenced but not the influencer. Sometimes we need to compromise but sometimes we need to be recognized. If our ideas are constantly rejected, then things never happen as we wish.

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Why we always fail to persuade?

It can be frustrating if our ideas are better but they are not adopted just because we lack the skills to persuade. But many of us make this mistake unknowingly–When we argue or discuss with others over an issue, we tend to take the shortcut to prove them wrong logically and at the same time we are right. This might work occasionally, for those who are rational and less emotional. But apparently not everyone is rational, at least not always.

Even if we have convincing arguments, proving others wrong is kind of explicitly telling others to change their minds. This often put them in an embarrassing situation because they have to admit that they are wrong.

The backfire effect: corrections always fail

It is compatible with the backfire effect suggested by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler at The University of Michigan and Georgia State University. [1] One of their research was designed to explore why people insist on their political misperceptions when others try to correct them.

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It shows that corrections actually enhance misperceptions among the group in question. In other words, corrections have no use. People who are being corrected in fact reject the ideas from those who hold different beliefs.

Persuade by showing the whole picture

Knowing that changing people’s minds is such a difficult work, we might want to try something suggested by the authority. Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century French philosopher, wrote the famous classic Persuasion long before psychology was invented. His idea is later proven by modern psychologists, Arthur Markman.Pascal suggested that the surefire way to change others’ minds is to show them the whole picture instead of proving them wrong as the two simple steps listed below:

  1. Acknowledge the validity of the other’s point of view
  2. Lead them to discover the other side of their argument

There should be something valuable in everyone’s point of view. So first you should recognize their contributions and admit what they are right about. Then, you should gradually reveal the other side to them, which is the part they have not observed. The following scenario might help you better understand the idea:

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Imagine you are thinking what to eat for dinner with your friends.A: I’d like some burgers. I’m starving.(But you want something else.)You: Well…  Burger might be good. What about pizza? It can also make you feel full. Plus you might have more options in the Italian restaurant.

After all, everyone has some blind spots and many people realize that. They won’t be offended by such persuasion approach because they feel like they only fail to see all sides instead of mistaking. Also, people are generally better persuaded by reasons they discover by themselves than by those implemented by others.

Give suggestions instead of commands

Such approach also allows you to better hide your intention to persuade. That’s why you should also pay attention to your tone when speaking to them. You need to play the role of a guide instead of an instructor. You should be guiding them instead of enforcing authority, raising questions instead of making judgements. Others will feel better and consider what you want them to think about if you sound more friendly and suggestive.

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A successful persuasion cannot be achieved only by strong and valid points. To make people let their guard down, you also need some techniques. So don’t let others bury your brilliant ideas. Be brave to speak them up and be smart to showcase them.

Reference

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Sheba Leung

Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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