10 Tips to Convince Others of Your Reasonable Beliefs
Hold a belief that you really feel strongly about? Think it important to share your knowledge about something you have given a whole lot of time, effort, and thought to?
Below are some tips on assisting others to causally align with your strongly held, reasonable beliefs:
1) First and foremost, believe in what you are trying to convince others of, but don’t try to convince others just because you believe it. You want people to align with something that you find true or most likely true, but you want to have strong reasoning to support that truth (or likely truth) first. If you are unable to reason out your belief, and instead believe it due to an entirely psychological response or indoctrination, you may have some searching of your own to do before you should try to convince others of your position.
2) Lay out the groundwork for what you are trying to convince others of. You could have a perfectly logical structure to your argument (it could be entirely “valid”), but if there is not agreement on the premises that the logical argument is built on, the argument is meaningless. If a premise is wrong, your argument is not sound. Explain where your grounding comes from and why it should be granted.
3) Don’t be ambiguous with your word use. Clarify, clarify, clarify! If your belief is based on a word that you cannot clarify to yourself, maybe you shouldn’t try to change the minds of others until you understand the very word you are using. Try different words out instead. Some may make your point a whole lot clearer.
4) Don’t be insulted if people do not understand the case you are making. People have minds that have developed differently than your own. Do the best you can to understand which points of yours they are not grasping and try to put those points into different terms. Don’t be stuck explaining in the same way over and over if the person cannot parse the way you are explaining it.
5) Be careful not to be drawn into a drama debate. These kind of debates are unproductive. If communicating online, avoid turning into a debate monster. Rwaarrr.
6) Point out flaws in another persons reasoning, but do so tactfully. A good way is to, whenever possible, try to counteract your recognition of their flawed reasoning with something good they are saying. “I really like what you said here, but perhaps you could clarify for me this other point because it appears to me that it may conflict with X.”
7) Use analogies to help others relate to your points, but do not rely on analogies alone. They are of great use as clarifying tool but are not stand alone arguments. Also, be careful of faulty analogies that add in excess unnecessary baggage which skew a point in a direction it would not take if not for the excess baggage.
8) Don’t limit yourself to words. If you are a visual person with some artistic inclination, use that to your advantage. A picture or drawing can help a person comprehend where you are coming from.
9) Watch out for fallacies in your argument. A single fallacy in the right place can strip all of the soundness from your position.
10) Last but not least, don’t be a jerk to those you cannot convince. It is quite difficult to immediately go from viewpoint (A) to opposing viewpoint (B), no matter what kind of awesome case is given for (B). A change of beliefs takes time - sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes years, and sometimes even decades. Sometimes you giving your case is just one tiny event that can lead another on the path to a change of mind. Consider it a long term process.
And sometimes your own mind might even change. Feel strongly about beliefs that are supported with evidence and sound reasoning, but do not close yourself off to new information that may arise. It is possible you have missed something along the way. You can strongly hold a position and still be humble.
Let me know what you think and your experiences with trying to change minds? Were you successful? Has anyone ever changed your mind? If so, what worked best?Follow @TrickSlattery
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