You and your colleague aren’t quite seeing eye-to-eye, and you’re eager to convince him to come over to your way of thinking. You’re not trying to be stubborn and obstinate—you just know that your method is best, and you’re determined to make him realize it.
Unfortunately, changing someone’s mind isn’t always easy. In fact, it can prove to be pretty difficult—particularly when you both feel strongly about your own opinions.
But, don’t throw up your hands just yet! There are a few key phrases you can implement when presenting your argument that are sure to help sway the other person to your point of view.
1. “We Should…”
When attempting to change someone’s mind, it’s all too easy to obsess over yourself and your own way of thinking. After all, you’re the one who’s right, and the whole point of this discussion is to prove that your way is best.
However, this self-centered approach results in a lot of “I”, “me”, and “you” language creeping into your spiel—which isn’t necessarily an effective persuasion technique.
Instead, you’re much better off using more collaborative language. Using words like “we” instead of “I” or “you” is a subconscious reminder that you’re both on the same team—you’re really just trying to find the best solution to a shared problem. Even better? It sounds less accusatory and demanding, which is crucial if you’re attempting to facilitate a productive discussion.
2. “This Will Work Because…”
What’s one of my biggest pet peeve about political commercials? Candidates spend their precious airtime telling you all of the things their opponents won’t do—and they neglect to even briefly mention what their own plans are.
However, many of us have the tendency to fall into this same trap when we’re presenting our own arguments. So, remember that it’s important that you place the majority of your emphasis on why your plan will work—rather than using all of your words and energy to explain why the other person’s won’t.
I know—it’s all too easy to think that poking holes in another person’s ideas and pointing out all of those obvious faults would be a surefire way to bring him or her to the light. However, this will likely only result in tension, arguments, and hurt feelings.
To be persuasive, you need to avoid being so negative and instead channel your time into explaining the benefits of your own idea. If you can point out all of the positives, you’ll have a much better chance of changing someone’s mind—without any hard feelings to boot.
3. “For Example…”
Most of us aren’t easily convinced—we aren’t typically willing to drop our convictions at the first sight of a differing opinion. So, that usually means we require some specific examples and supporting evidence in order to change our minds about something we feel strongly about.
In fact, science shows that arguments that make use of specific examples are much more persuasive than those that only use vague terms and general assumptions.
This means that you should plan to follow up your assertion with a solid instance of when your suggested idea played out well. Different opinions aside—it’s difficult to argue with facts.
We all have those experiences when we need to try to coax someone into seeing our point of view. And, unfortunately, you can’t just snap your fingers and instantly change that other person’s mind.
Persuading someone to kick his or her own opinions to the curb in favor of jumping on your bandwagon can take a little bit of strategy and thought. So, make use of these three key phrases, and you’re well on your way to bringing that person over to your way of thinking.
Photo of courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author