Home > Philosophy > 10 Tips to Convince Others of Your Reasonable Beliefs

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?

  1. April 19, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Well written. I don’t think I’ve ever really tried to change someone’s mind. My aim is to just explain my own.

    • April 19, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      Thanks TMSO. 🙂

      I do that as well. Sometimes my objective is to test my own as well. I also find that just explaining your own many times is a spark that can change another’s mind.

      Thanks for stoppin’ by.


      • April 19, 2012 at 1:42 PM

        Good point. For me, I suppose, I’m being lazy. It is hard to debate folks the right way (as you described). It is so much easier to just shout. Maybe that’s why I decided to talk to myself for the most part. 😉

  2. April 19, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    Print up t-shirts and even the people that disagree will want one. with your idea on it. Every one is a sucker for a free t-shirt. Except I would not wear one for the Red Socks. Or democrats. Or republicans.

    • April 19, 2012 at 10:23 AM

      Sooo taa-rue! Every loves a free tee.

      Would you take one of a cute baby donkey or elephant wearing red socks? It’s all about the hidden symbolism. 😉

  3. April 19, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    You are an eminently rational man, Trick, as well as a great cartoonist/artist! I write future history, and my views are underpinned by a set of principles that I would really like people to pay attention to. So far, my attempts to get people to read about them on my blog have met with lukewarm success, but I’m not finished! And I agree with your approach 100%!
    A quick comment on point no. 10: A good example of the length of time it can take for people’s minds to change is smoking. Seventy-five years ago it was trendy, considered sophiscated and smart – even though some people, including my grandfather, knew it would kill you. They were voices crying in the wilderness! Now most people who smoke wish they didn’t and they have to apologize and sneak off into corners to do it. The length of time it takes to really change people’s minds about something is why I laid my novels so far in the future (28th-30th c.). I’ve always thought that both the collapse and the change to a semi-utopian culture in Star Trek came way too fast.
    And re Karl D’Agostino’s idea – maybe that’s a new way to promote books! I should have T-shirts printed up with a picture of my termite Champion Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head on them and well them from my website!

    • April 19, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      Thanks Lorinda…I try. 🙂

      Indeed…excellent point about #10. In fact, if we are talking about the mind sets of the public in general, well that could even take centuries.

      Along with my philosophical book I am also writing a science fiction book. I think fiction can be an excellent media to get ones ideas out to the world. The trick is to address key points all while keeping the story entertaining and flowing. Harder than it seems. I know I run into snags where I want to drill on about a point, however, that has a tendency to break the flow of a story.

      Keep up the excellent writing and thanks for visiting.


  4. April 19, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Will I be way out of line if I make a little plug for my work? :-> The Termite Queen: Volume One: The Speaking of the Dead will cost only $ .99 for two days on ebooks starting tomorrow! it’s on Amazon and Smashwords.

    • April 19, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      Heh…well I really don’t have much of a fan base so it probably wont help much, but I will definitely check out the book on my Kindle myself. 🙂

  5. Tash
    April 19, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    i especially like number 9 the fallacy

    • April 19, 2012 at 9:09 PM

      Critical thinker high 5 on that one. 😉

      Thanks for the visit Tash.

      • Tash
        April 19, 2012 at 9:34 PM

        was a pleasure to read 🙂

  6. May 17, 2012 at 7:52 AM

    Thanks for stopping by or else I would have not found your adorable blog..Love your doodle site by the way. Will follow, Jenny

    • May 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      Thanks for poppin in, following, and for liking by doodles. 🙂

      • May 17, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        I might used one of your doodles on one of my future post but of course will acknowledge and link it back to you 😉

      • May 17, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        Oh awesome!!! I love when people use my doodles. They are so obscure that it always surprises me when someone finds a use for one. Can’t wait to see what you could possibly relate it too. I’ll be keepin’ an eye out on your posts. 😉

      • May 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM

        Thank you for the follow back and bookmarked your doodle page already..So cute…:)

  7. July 29, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    I saw you over by Deb’s place and came over to see what you’re up to 🙂 I’m M.C., and I love this post. It’s true, sometimes we have to wait a long time before, even if it’s something to their benefit, for people to be ready for something.

    • July 29, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      Hi M.C. – Thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, patience truly is a virtue. 😉

      • July 29, 2012 at 4:17 PM

        I know, I know!! It’s a hard lesson to learn though, I must say!

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