When wanting to be persuasive, we often look for too big of an ask.
Politics is something I go back to often, not because I enjoy politics, but because it is an interesting looking at individual psychology and the interaction of that with sociology.
For people who are politically charged, when they meet someone whose ideologies are opposite, they often try to convince them to flip a full 180* and come over to their side. This almost never works. It is too big of an ask.
Think about it this way, there is a process of converting someone from where they are today, to an entirely different set of beliefs and one possibility for it could be written something like this:
- Discover some doubt about current set of beliefs.
- Have a negative personal experience with the beliefs you currently hold.
- See some evidence of positivity in a belief you don’t currently hold.
- Have a positive personal experience with a belief you didn’t think you had.
- Meet others who hold the view you disagreed with in the past, but are coming around to.
- Adopt the new belief, acknowledging the old one is wrong.
Why is it then that we don’t see people able to easily shift others political views?
Mostly because this is work. For these things to happen, may require some chance. To force them to happen may require money, planning, and deliberate actions.
However, this isn’t limited to politics. It is more a template for any persuasion. It could be decision-making at the company you work for. It could be making a sale to a customer. It could be getting people on-board with a community plan. It has endless applications. However, the point for any of these applications is rather than seeing the act of persuasion as a switch in which you either succeed in flipping it or fail, see it as an act of moving someone along the process of being persuaded. This makes it much more likely you’ll be successful. However, also understand it may require multiple attempts, empathy, backsliding at points to previous stages and more to make the persuasion happen.
Patience, empathy and commitment are key. As is true for anything important to happen.