How to change someone’s mind 01/16/2015

One of the most powerful skills you can learn is the ability to help change someone’s mind about something. 

And with regard to this, there is good news and bad news. 

The bad news is that there is no foolproof, guaranteed way to ensure that what you say or do will change somebody’s mind. 

A harsh reality maybe, but it’s the truth. 

The good news is that if you understand the psychological triggers that we are all susceptible to, and the fact that there is (almost) always an emotional component that goes into our decision making process in the first place, then you can greatly increase your chances of chipping away at someone’s decision or belief and get them to consider other ideas. 

And when I say “other ideas” I mean yours of course:) 

So how actually do you go about getting someone to change their mind about something, or to chip away at a long held belief that won’t easily change overnight? 

Before I answer that (and I will) let me mention a couple of ways how most of us (myself included) mess this up. 

1. We come across as questioning ‘the person’ and not the decision. 

What I mean by this is depending on the tone that is used and the question that is asked, we can come across as challenging the person’s intelligence in making the decision, without really meaning to do that. 

An example would be something like “So why did you do that?” 

Again tone plays a huge role in this, but whenever you ask a ‘why’ question, it can come off as challenging the person, like you’re questioning their motives. 

And many times instead of trying to objectively examine their motive, the person you’re speaking with will dig in deeper and justify even more why they made the decision that they did. 

Thus setting you back in terms of trying to get them to change their mind. 

2. We come across as “us versus them”. 

When this happens, again the person that you’re talking to is likely to dig in even deeper because they’re afraid that you’re trying to take something away from them. 

And people will fight tooth and nail when they perceive that you’re trying to take something away from them! 

So how do you go about starting the process of changing someone’s mind? 

It starts with a question. 

“John, I’m trying to understand what led up to your decision of (fill in the blank here). 

Or if it has to be an even softer approach: 

“John, I want to understand what led up to that decision. Would you mind sharing your insights with me so I can get a clearer picture of how you arrived at your decision?” 

By using the word ‘insights’ you’re giving the person credit for the fact that there was some amount of insight involved in the decision making process (even if there wasn’t). 

And a ’clearer’ picture sounds different than a ‘better’ picture. Better implies that their picture was not good enough or was lacking something. (That’s the kind of trigger, by the way, that can activate someone’s defense mechanism instantly and one that you should avoid if you can help it). 

And after asking that first question, you listen. 

Maybe even agree with some of the reasons that they had in their decision making process. 

Doing those two things will go a long way toward breaking down their process and giving you more information that you can ask questions about. 

I’ll cover more of this in tomorrow’s email about some of the follow up questions that you can ask. 

I’ll also have a story about getting someone to change their mind using what I call the “Charlie Harper” technique. 

If you want to learn how to ask questions and incorporate some of the psychological triggers that I mentioned, then I cover a lot more “types” of questions in the Hypnotic Hacks ebook. You can learn more about it here

Until next time, have a great day! 

Arthur King 

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