Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But if you want to bring someone around to yours, you need a strategy. Well, we got one for you from a master. Howard Gardner is a cognitive psychologist from Harvard and the author of the book “Changing Minds”. Here’s his advice to be more persuasive. All of us have areas of fundamentalism - which is just a strong commitment to a certain opinion. And it can be an opinion about anything.
- So start by what Dr. Gardner calls “listening charismatically”. That means, pay careful attention to what a person is saying. Draw them out – ask questions. You can’t attempt to change someone’s mind if you don’t know how they think in the first place. Try to understand their resistance.
- Never make a direct assault on another person’s point of view. When you say, “You’re wrong, why can’t you see it my way?” You’ll be met with defensiveness. Instead, once you understand where the other person is coming from, take them out of their element to open up their mind. A walk to the coffee shop will do. Just a place they don’t normally go. It’ll break their normal thought pattern and stimulate fresh thinking.
- Try this persuasion technique. Let’s say you want to go to Tahiti on vacation but you’ve talked to your wife and you know her point of resistance is that she doesn’t like long plane flights. Okay – rather than trying to tell her how to fly more comfortably, tell her what she’ll like about the trip. She can scuba dive, she loves that.
If you want to go further with this, Gardener’s book is called “Changing Minds.”