Take a moment to look at that guy in the picture, let's call him Pete. Imagine that Pete disagrees with you about something that you care deeply about. You're absolutely certain that you're right but Pete here is just as confident about his position.
How would you encourage Pete to consider your point of view? Even better, how would you get him to change his mind given that he's as dug into his perspective as you are with yours?
Please take another moment to think about what you would say to Pete. What models or frameworks (if any) might you use? And how would you approach the conversation more generally?
How did you go? Were you happy with your plan? Do you really think it would get you anywhere with Pete? After all, look at how smug he looks — that's so Pete, right?
This Playbook won't offer magical solutions to win hearts and change minds, but we're confident that it will add to your approach and help boost your influencing skills.
Definitely apply it to your interactions with other people, and then consider how you might also apply it to yourself as you challenge and shift your own views in the face of new evidence, experiences, and learning.
Note - as always, click into any model to find out more but be aware that about 30% of our content is members only.
UNDERSTAND THEIR POINT OF VIEW
Yes, you have to start here. You can't expect them to shift until you truly have empathised and can see things from their perspective.
Do you know nothing about them? Or do you think you know everything about them? If you're on either extreme, you're likely to lack curiosity, and if you want to empathise and understand them, you're going to have to shift that upfront and ask sincere, curious questions to find out more.
Stop being so paranoid. They're not disagreeing because they're out to get to you. They're probably just scared or concerned about their own issues. Use this model to keep perspective.
Have a little humility about your ideas and appreciate that there might be a situation where you and the person you disagree with are both wrong, and both have aspects of the truth at the same time.
Use this model to understand how people will largely be fear-driven in important areas of change, and how to incorporate this into your communication.
Dig deeper into their perspective with frameworks such as this, to gain another view on what actually drives and is important to them.
This approach is all about getting below a person's 'request' or on-face position, and understanding the underlying needs that are behind it. Once those needs are uncovered you can often find alternative win-win ways to meet their and your needs. A truly powerful, but difficult technique.
KNOW IT GOES BEYOND DATA & FACTS
Convincing someone is not just about making a convincing argument, use this models to gain a broader view of the challenges you'll face.
Position yourself with an understanding that we are all largely irrational, even rationalising beings. This model, a foundation of Behavioural Economics, will help.
One of the most practical outcomes of the 'rationalising' element of us all, is that we seek information to validate rather than challenge. Explore this model and be sure to ask 'what would I see if I was wrong?' and encourage your audience to ask the same question. At the very least, don't be surprised if your audience picks and chooses their facts — you're likely doing the same thing.
Appreciate that getting started is the hardest part, and consider how you might find a short term and small point of agreement to get things moving. In other words, try opening the conversation to find points of agreement that can be built on gradually.
INFLUENCE AND CHANGE MINDS
Finally you can begin to apply approaches to win them over to an alternative perspective.
How are you communicating? Not just what, but how? Consider using the Trust Equation to ensure you're building connection and trust.
A classic when it comes to persuasion, Cialdini's work forms the bedrock of persuasion techniques. You'll likely have to apply all of these elements, just ensure you don't become too manipulative in the process!
This sales inspired model is a reminder to focus on the 'What's In It For Me' equation of the argument. Don't just 'describe the thing', consider what it might mean for your audience and why they should care.
It's not all about the way you argue, but when you do make an argument you'll want to consider this model.
Avoid binary conversations and embrace the complexity of the situation with Probabalistsic Thinking. This provides more space for everyone to have some valid ideas that can be further tested and explored.
Rather than just verbal discussions, set up mini-experiments and opportunities to learn from feedback. Ask them, if you're right what would you expect to see in this situation — then put it to the test with them.
What better feedback loops and testing than Split Tests. If possible, go here to validate and challenge ideas.
Want someone to change? Be aware that they are more likely to do it with Temporal Landmarks. Click into the model for more, but consider continuing the conversation in the morning, on a Monday, or just find other ways to encourage a 'Fresh Start'.
Change can be really scary. Be sure to use this model to help anchor the person with some level of safety and certainty, even as you challenge other elements. The more they can anchor themselves, the more they will feel safe to explore new ideas and options.
Ask the person how they would help convince or challenge someone else around the issue. Rather than telling them, encourage them to provide advice that would actually benefit themselves.
This versatile model is a fundamental one for any communication. It encourages you to consider the question: 'compared to what?' That is, what is their point of reference and how is the conversation being framed? You're going to want to 'control the frame' to make a case more compelling or challenge it to help break someone from their current perspective.
And finally, this powerful model steers you away from arguing with them and instead investing energy on finding a pathway where the person can maintain pride and integrity, even as they change their mind.