How to persuade in a conversation?
It is very likely that, once in your life, you have been involved in a discussion in which you are sure to be right and think that all the others are wrong. The strength of your arguments is so obvious for you that you think: “How is it possible that they realize that I’m right?” When this happens, we usually adopt an air of superiority, almost paternalistic. Our non-verbal language and our words seem to be saying “Would you please allow me to show you what’s right?”
This behaviour provokes precisely the contrary of what we want to get: the other person feels offended and creates a wall around him. Instead of being ready to listen to us and assess our arguments, he will do his best to reject them. To avoid this happening, we must transmit the feeling that we value what the other person says.
Everyone likes to feel listened and considered. So once we pay attention to the reasons of the other person, he will be ready to listen to our arguments. Furthermore, if the other person explains himself, it’s easier to make that he qualifies his ideas and accepts ours at the end.
According to a study by Leonid Rozenblit and Frank Keil, professors at the University of Yale, people tend to think that they know well a subject when they actually have a superficial knowledge. In their study, they asked some volunteers to rate their knowledge about different subjects. Afterwards, they asked them to explain what they knew about those subjects they consider themselves wiser and to answer some questions about it. At the end, they reduced the qualification of their knowledge over the subject.
We can take the conclusion from this study that people are more ready to change their position or accept certain weakness in their arguments if we give them the opportunity to explain themselves. By doing it, it’s easier that they realize about the weakness of some of their ideas and they accept the point of view of someone else.
Therefore, if you are in discussion about any topic, show that you are ready to listen to the arguments of the others; that you are even ready to allow them to develop their arguments as much as they want. Thus, you will get two objectives: o one side they will see you as an empathetic person, with whom they can discuss without problems; and on the other one, they will be able to accept the weakness of their arguments.
© 2014, Learning Pills