How to persuade others

Here’s peaceful way of persuading people to your way of thinking.

1. Avoid arguing with extremists
You can hope to persuade rational people but, if someone’s fanatic to cause, you’ll be unlikely to convince them.

2. Analyse your stance before you get involved
Be convinced that the subject is worth arguing about. Will you be on the defensive or offensive. Will it be worth the emotional effort?

3. Prepare your case in advance if you can
If the opportunity arises, get ready with the following:
? Understand the issue clearly. If you don’t you’re disadvantaged from the start.
? Reflect on the issue and clarify your side of the argument.
? Organise your thoughts. Tease out the issue. Jot down salient points.
? Consider your opponent’s possible argument and build up ammunition to counter such views in rational way.
? Rehearse.

4. Listen to what the other person has to say
Speed of reply counts little in an argument, so let your opponent express an opinion without interruption. Besides, how can you give telling reply if you don’t know what’s been said. If you really listen, you’ll be able to throw back in attack the faulty points in your opponent’s argument.
5. Give the impression of giving the other side fair go
Don’t signal your impatience by responding too quickly. Pause and reflect. Give the impression you’re interested in the other point of view and are giving thought to those opinions. rational opponent will return your courtesy – and that’s important if you want to win the day.

6. Keep your cool and present your case logically and calmly
Calmly stated facts are more effective weapons than intimidation, raised voices, immoderate language, and table thumping. If your opponent resorts to statements such as “Nonsense!”, “Ridiculous!”, or “That’s crazy!”, insist on knowing why. Make your opponents destroy your line of reasoning logically. If they can’t, your case is almost won.

7. Consider these weapons
? If you can, make use of third person to state or support your side. After all, that’s what lawyers do in court.
? Resist attacking your opponent’s conclusions. Rather attack the reasoning that got them there. You have to erode the foundations on which their conclusions are built.
? Establish the basic principles that underlie your argument and your opponents’. Defend yours. Attack theirs.
? If you attack your opponent’s character or name-call, you’ve all but lost the debate.

8. Let your opponents retire gracefully
If you sense it’s hard for them to admit defeat, give them the chance to save face. For example, say: “Seeing that you didn’t have all the information at your fingertips, I see why you felt the way you did…”

9. Move on
Don’t dwell on your victories – or your opponents may dwell on their defeats. You’ve won the day, so your next challenge will be to work with your former adversary. Forget about trying to assert your authority – that’s already accepted. Having persuaded others, it’s time to lead on.

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