How to Change Somebody's Mind

Believe me, it's not easy! And sometimes, it doesn't work at all.

But while researching my book on how to produce more memorable writing, I stumbled upon these mind changing ideas from multiple sources.

Remember, I'm a writer, not a psychologist. So the methods shown here come mostly from writers and speakers who've successfully altered perceptions through presentations and persuasive reports.

1. Wear the other person's shoes - Ask questions to find out why someone holds a completely different view from yours.

2. Ask that person to amplify his/her position - Are your opponent's views based on actual data, or on disputed or second-hand information that might be challenged?

3. If that person's views are based on data, is the source of that data credible?

4. What common positions do you hold? Politicians can often win a hostile audience by first discussing values everyone shares. If we can agree on common goals, perhaps readers/listeners will follow us when we lead them down new pathways.

5. Can some position be compromised? In negotiations, I often give away a small point in order to show willingness to arrive at an agreement.

6. Point out your side's best points. Remember the fence-painting episode from "Tom Sawyer"? Tom makes his task seem so appealing his friends offer him all sorts of prizes if he'll let them participate.

7. Speaking of good points - Sometimes negotiation can become a listing contest. Can you reinforce your position by listing a number of positive things about your proposal? Example: Ten reasons you should vote for Proposition A.


Negotiation(c) 2014.