Getting People To Agree
Everyday, some situation arises where we need to persuade another person to accept our viewpoint. some disagreement comes up with our mate, children, boss, employee, customer, neighbor, friend or enemy. The natural response is to argue. We must learn to make our natural response persuation.
When someone opposes our ideas, we take it as a threat to our ego. We become emotional and hostile and try to ram our ideas down our opponent's throat. We exaggerate our own arguments and ridicule our opponent's points. This way does not win.
The only way to win an argument is to get others to change their minds. There are ways to induce others to see things our way.
Rules for winning arguments:
1. Allow others to state their case. Don't interrupt; remember to listen. A person with something to say has their mind set for talking. Until they have said their piece, they are not tuned to listen to your ideas. If you want your ideas heard, learn to listen to their ideas first.
Asking others to repeat their key points is very helpful when someone is agitated. Allowing them to vent reduces their hostility.
2. Pause before you answer. This works equally well in conversation where there is no difference of opinion. When you are asked a question, look at the person and pause slightly before answering. This lets others know that you consider what he has said of sufficient importance to think about it.
A slight pause is all that is needed. Pause too long and you give the impression that you are hesitant or evasive. If you must disagree, the slight pause is very important. If you respond with and immediate "no," it makes others feel that you are not interested enough to take time with their problems.
3. Don't insist on winning 100%. When we get into an argument, most of us attempt to prove that we are totally in the right, and others are wrong. Skillful persuaders always concede something and find some points of agreement.
If the other person has a point in their favor, acknowledge it. If you give in on minor and unimportant points, others will be more likely to give in to the big one.
4. State your case moderately and accurately. We have to watch the tendency to exaggerate when our ideas are opposed. Calmly stated facts are the most effective in getting others to change their minds.
Forceful methods may seem to work at first. You can beat another down; show them up; get them to the point where they can't say a thing. Your audience applauds. You have won the argument ... or so it seems. But the other person has not accepted your viewpoint and will not act upon your ideas.
5. Speak through third parties. The lawyer who wants to win cases rounds up witnesses who testify to the points he wants to put over to the jury. The argument is more convincing if disinterested third parties describe events. Salespeople use testimonials of satisfied customers. Candidates for political office solicit endorsements.
Speaking through third parties can be particularly valuable when there is a difference of opinion and you want others to see things your way. People are naturally skeptical of you when you say things to your own advantage. Additionally, statements by third parties are much less likely to arouse the egos of others. Statistics, records, history, and quotes can all be cited.
6. Allow others to save face. There will be many times that others would gladly change their minds and agree with you except for one thing; they have already made a definite commitment, a strong stand, and cannot change position in good grace. To agree with you requires them to admit that they were wrong.
Skillful persuaders know how to leave the door open so that others can escape from their previous position without losing face. Otherwise, they may find themselves prisoners of their own logic. If you can persuade another, you not only must convince them, but you must also know how to rescue them from their own argument.
The first method is to assume that they did not have all the facts: "I felt the same way abut it at first, until I ran across this information, which changed the picture." The second method is to suggest some way that they can pass the buck to another.
Giblin, Les (2001). The Art of Dealing With People. USA: DreamHouse Publishing.