The ability make others believe what you believe is important for success in many fields. There is often a fine line between convincing somebody your views are valid and annoying them. In this article we’ll look at some of the techniques you can use if you want to convince another individual to believe what you believe.
- Do the homework. Make sure you understand your own viewpoint. If you are going to try to convince somebody that the Eiffel Tower is taller than the Statue of Liberty, find out the facts first, don’t make assumptions.
- Learn the field. For certain areas you will need to know more than just the facts, as some subjects are subjective. For example, if you wanted to convince somebody that the Statue of Liberty was prettier than the Eiffel Tower you will need to know enough about architecture and aesthetics to argue about that subject, as well as the facts, like how tall they are. If you are selling something, like a car, you will need to know all there is to know about the car you are selling. Likewise, you will need to know all about the other cars that are in competition with your vehicle.
- Engage the person politely. Maintain eye contact where possible, but don’t be annoying about it.
- Establish mutual respect. You will never convince anybody of anything if they believe you do not respect them, so show the person you respect them and be good enough to gain their respect.
- Gain trust. To convince people of most things you will need their trust. They don’t have to trust you as a person, but they do need to trust that what you are saying makes sense, that you know your “stuff”. The best way to do this is to do your homework and fieldwork, that way you know a lot about the subject.
- Listen carefully to what your debate partner has to say. Respond thoughtfully to their point of view.
- When you can, back up what you say with real facts. Lying will only convince somebody until they find out about the lie, then you will never be able to convince them of anything again.
- Be willing to be convinced. Sometimes accepting one point from the other person and showing that you can change your mind when you are wrong will help them to be the same, and change their mind about the subject you care about.
- Practice active listening. Active listening helps you control a conversation and keeps it on track. Active listening techniques include:
- Non-verbal feedback. Nodding your head as the other talks etc.
- Paraphrase what the other person has said to make sure you understand it.
- Make sure you understand the other person’s objections and respond to them in an intelligent manner.
- Keep vigilant about your belief, but always respectful of the beliefs of others. Explain why your belief is important to you.
- Understand the other person’s motivations. If you know what another person wants, you are more likely to be able to give it to them.
- Rephrase your beliefs in a way that the other person is better able to understand.
- Follow up. Ask questions to make sure the other person understands their new views completely.
- To hold the eye of a crowd select individuals in the crowd and hold their eyes on-and-off through your presentation.
- Never lose your cool. Nothing lacks conviction more than a raving idiot.
- Always be friendly and respectful even if the other person does not change their mind.
- Beliefs fade. You may think you have changed somebodies mind but find that in a day or two, perhaps a week, they are right back to where they were before.
- Buy and read some books on sales techniques.