Trying to change someone’s mind is something that we have all tried to do, but most people fail at influencing others.
Learning how to change someone’s mind is integral having success in life. Because you will never have success in life you are always following other people’s plans, you need to learn to influence them so that you can follow your own.
How to change someone’s mind
So in this video I’m going to give you seven, powerful and actionable rules to follow when you’re trying to influence someone and change their mind.
Rule one – go for no
When you are butting heads with someone else and trying to influence their opinions, they know that you’re trying to get them to say “yes”. The long this goes on, there is an increasing pressure as this person avoids saying yes, and the level of involvement from their increases until a point where they may never admit defeat at all.
As you can see on this diagram, as more and more ego and emotion gets put into the conversation, the pressure for the individual to say no and disagree with you goes up and up. All until it reaches a point of no return where they just think “f-it” and they’ll never openly admit to changing their mind, just to spite you.
Have you ever lied about being wrong, just so you wouldn’t look bad? That’s you reaching the “f-you” point.
So instead, you’re going to relieve all this pressure by influencing them to say “no” instead of pushing them towards yes which is what they’re expecting you to do.
When someone says “no” it can be an incredible relief for them, it can feel like you’ve taken a weight right off their shoulders, and it also gives them the perception of control, which in turn allows them to drop the emotion from the discussion and come back to a more logical conversation.
“No” can actually means many things. For example it could mean –
- You’re make me feel uncomfortable
- I do not understands
- I don’t think I can afford it
- I need more information
- I disagree right now but I could change my mind
So take a moment from trying to debate the individual and ask the question…
“What about this does not work for you?”.
This immediately pulls the conversation towards what’s stopping them from believing you which is half the battle won.
Rule two – don’t argue
Next where people go wrong when trying to change someone elses mind is that they allow the conversation to escalate into an argument before they get to a point at which they can influence the other person.
Most people assume wrongly that if they can prove their points logically, common sense will take over and the other person will admit that they were wrong. The issue is, emotions play a much larger impact on our decisions of what we believe than what people’s logical brains do.
Just because you are technically correct and perhaps you have more data supporting your outcome and maybe you even have the backing of other people too, if you turn the conversation into an augment, the other person’s ego and emotions will dominate and they will be blinded to your logic or rationale.
Rule three – Win, humbly
If every time you change someone’s mind, you mad, Conor McGregor level talk trash and let them know that they were wrong and you are right, they will build a bigger barrier next time around you both disagree, so their ego doesn’t get hurt again in the crossfire.
The better solution is to act humble. Enter the discussion saying “hey, I might be wrong but…” And you will drop the guard of the person that you are trying to influence.
Even if you know you are 100% correct, nobody likes being wrong and having it rubbed in their face. If the conversation is started with…
“I might be wrong”, the people you’re attempting to influence will be far more open to admitting being wrong as well.
Rule four – hear people out
So how do we break through the emotional brick wall that people can put up when they “believe”, in “their gut” that they’re correct? What do we need to do so that we can have a logical conversation and prove our point?
To do this with or use the technique of labelling. Let’s stop for a second and see this from the other side of the table for a second, from the perspective of the person that we are trying to influence. Because there is nothing more frustrating than when a person is trying to put their point across and they are getting passionate, talking in emotional language and probably waving their hands around their head and… other person is ignoring what they’re saying.
So, before you can give a logical response, you need to acknowledge the person’s emotional state, to let them know that you really are listening to them and paying attention.
To do this, we are going to calmly and respectfully repeat the emotions that the individual is sharing with us, back to them and then start to bring logic back into the conversation. For example, we could say –
“We both agree that you feel X, but logically would it make sense to think about doing Y?”
Once you hear, label and then make the individuals emotions public, they tend to see that they are being emotional and now will be far likely to listen to the logical argument you’re making to change their opinion.
Rule five – let them do the talking
Have you ever listened to someone and instantly knew they were lying?
Often this gut feeling comes from the fact that if you’re not sure about the subject matter you are taking about, it becomes compoundingly more difficult to confidently talk about it, the longer you keep talking.
Most people can BS about a random subject for 20 seconds, but it becomes nearly impossible to do this for two or three minutes straight without fumbling or losing track of where you were and making mistakes.
This is why, when you are trying to change someone’s mind, you should encourage them to speak, rather than you doing all the talking yourself.
The more that they talk, the more likely they are to make a mistake, see their own slip up, and then, in turn have their own convictions on the subject become slightly less secure.
Conversely, if you start blabbering on, you have way more chance of saying something stupid and importantly, talking more, also makes you look invested in the outcome of the conversation.
If you imagine an adult talking to a child, and the adult knows that monsters are not real, yet the child is trying to influence the adult that they are… Imagine how nonchalant the adult is with their statements. They don’t much talking, they are clear and precise the little they do say.
This sheer confidence translates into influence.
So ask the individual, with short, confident sentences, why they believe what they believe and why they disagree with you.
Rule six – let them be right
There is nothing more powerful when wanting to change someone’s mind, than letting the person feel like they were correct all along.
So rather than jumping into a conversation and aggressively saying…
“You need to believe X because of Y data”
you’ll get people on board with you far quicker by saying…
“Here is X data, what do YOU think this tells us?”
Allow the individual to see whatever evidence that shapes your point of view, and then allow them to come to the correct conclusion on their own terms, without you trying to spell it out for them.
If somebody thinks the outcome it their own idea, clearly they’re going to be far more likely to embrace it.
Rule seven – ask what it would take
This is the final rule because it is not a good place to start to try change someone’s mind, but it is the best solution if you tried everything else and nothing has stuck.
Ask the question…
”What would it take for you to change your mind?”
Pretty simple, right?
Let me give you an example of how I’ve used this in the real world. I have a friend who is religious, I am not religious in any way. My friend and I have gone back and forth over religion, science, all kinds of things after a few pints in the pub, on a bunch of occasions and we have never come to a conclusion other than he thinks he’s right, I know I am right.
One day, after a few too many pints, I wanted to find out if these conversations ever had the opportunity to, at least open his mind a little bit on the subject of science versus religion, so I asked him the question “what would it take to change your mind that there is no God?” his response was “nothing would change my mind this” and so in an instant, I knew that to debate this further would be pointless, other than it just makes for good conversation.
So before you give up on attempting to change someone’s mind, ask this question and immediately you will know if you’re fighting a lost cause.
And there we have it! Just to quickly recap here are seven rules of changing someone else’s mind –
- Rule one – Go for no – Disarm people by asking “what about this does not work for you?”.
- Rule two – Don’t argue – Don’t argue and get peoples backs up. Why make the job harder for yourself by having to break through both their emotions and logical arguments.
- Rule three – Win humbly – Every word of trash talk now, makes it harder to change this persons mind the future.
- Rule four – Hear people out – Allow people to see their own emotions and then take them off the table by asking “We both agree that you feel X, but logically would it make sense to think about doing Y?”.
- Rule five – Let them do the talking – Don’t trip yourself up by talking to much, allow them to do it to themselves instead.
- Rule six – Let them be right – Give the evidence and then ask for their opinion. Allow them to think the idea was their own.
- Rule seven – Ask what it would take – The hail Mary if nothing else has worked. Ask ”What would it take to change your mind?”.
There you have it, how to convince anyone of anything in 7 simple steps.