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Five easy tricks to make people change their minds


To gain persuasion with friends or anyone requires some tricky tasks as revealed by experts. The following are five tricks of persuasion:

  1. Make them know they are right. Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher said the trick of persuading others is simple; the most effective way to change someone’s mind before disagreeing with them is by pointing out the ways they are right. Robert Cialdini, psychology professor at Arizona State University also upholds that: ‘By initially describing areas of agreement with another’s position, the communicator comes to be seen as a more reasonable and likable individual, thereby increasing his or her persuasiveness.’
  2. Make your point known naturally. Don’t be too aggressive in making your point of view known, let them discover it by themselves. Pascal disagreed that ‘people are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.’ Professor Cialdini said: ‘Socrates pioneered this approach. He was famous for persuading others to come into line with his thinking by simply asking them questions.’ It was those answers that created significant change because they came from inside his audience, not from Socrates himself.
  3. Make sure the medium of message is right. The strategy of passing your message to the people with opposing view is very important if you want to gain persuasion, especially in this modern day. Professor Bradley Love from UCL said: ‘For example, choosing the right messenger can be very effective. A messenger who shares common values with the audience and can share perspective may be effective even if the messenger is not agreeing on a specific point. For example, maybe a messenger on climate change who is very much against government regulation of industry could persuade climate deniers that the Earth is getting hotter overall. Such a person could establish common ground and be less threatening to core values without denying facts.’
  4. Give an alternative story or illustration. Persuasion is made easy when facts are supported with similar story or illustration. Professor Love said: ‘One thing I find counter-intuitive that works is that when someone spreads misinformation it is better to replace the falsehood with an alternative explanation than to focus on refuting the claim. Basically, the falsehood is a story and rather than ripping that story apart it works better to simply replace the false story with the true one that people can hold onto.’
  5. Make some ‘pre-suasion’. Certain things can be done before we persuade people to change their mind. It includes  observing the mood of the person to know when they will be more receptive to your point of view. Professor Cialdini said: ‘In 1588, British troops massed against a sea invasion from Spain at Tilbury were deeply concerned that their leader Queen Elizabeth I, as a woman, would not be up to the rigors of battle,’ he said.

‘In addressing the men, she dispelled their fears pre-suasively: first acknowledging the concern by admitting a weakness, which established her honesty for whatever she said next, and then following it with a strength that demolished the weakness.’

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