It’s a tale as old as time, you are wrong, they are right. How do you make them see the truth?
It seems intuitive that if you want to win an argument, you prove the other person wrong. Logic and reason will win out, sadly this is not true. People will defend their opinion until they die once you attack their beliefs, no matter how logical your arguments.
There are 3 ways to actually convince someone though.
1) Don’t Make The Other Person An Idiot
People are prideful. Your opponent (or friend or lover) doesn’t want to look (and more importantly feel) like an idiot. So don’t make them an idiot.
When was the last time you enjoyed admitting you were wrong? When was the last time you looked forward to pointing out how stupid you have been?
If you can take the sting out of them being wrong, make them see that anyone would have thought the same given the information they had, you can let them change their mind without looking stupid. Giving a person a pain-free way out, is key to changing their opinion.
The moment you chastise them for their beliefs, you have lost them (I am very guilty of this) and you are not getting them back. They will dig in and fight you harder.
2) Look At Things From Their Point Of View
In some cases there isn’t a clear right or wrong. Sometimes you are even working towards the same goal as your opponent but you have different ideas on how to reach your goal.
If you can understand why they believe what they do, you can start to work with them.
Where I work, we recently tried to implement a new filing system. Both sides wanted to make it easier to find the file you needed, when you needed it.
We did not listen to each other, we attacked each other’s methods, rather than trying to understand each other’s points of view. As a result we got into a heated argument and never reached a solution.
If instead we had realised we both wanted to just make finding files easier, rather than defending our own favourite methods, we could have come to the best conclusion. Then we would all have a better filing system as a result.
3) See More Of The World
You never learn anything new if you do the same things every day, talking to the same people, reading the same blogs.
Talk to people you disagree with, with the intention of listening to what they have to say. Try asking someone to explain why they believe something you don’t believe. Don’t offer your own opinion, see how it makes you feel.
If you want to change minds, be willing to change your own. Admitting mistakes isn’t fun or easy, but it’s necessary for growth.
Let me know in the comments below if anyone changed your mind or why they didn’t.