Published in Jul 2020 / Updated in Aug 2021
Tell me if this sounds familiar. You are trying to convince someone to see things your way, but you can’t seem to win them over. The person just won’t change their mind.
The problem is not necessarily that you have an unsustainable perspective. One possibility is that you can’t find enough words to say what’s necessary to change the person’s mind.
So, what options do you have left here? Is there anything you can do to make someone see things your way?
The short answer is yes. There is plenty you can do to change someone’s mind, for instance:
1. Be A Friend, Not An Adversary
Some people never seem to get anyone to agree with them. And yet, when the same idea is floated by someone else, it gets accepted.
What’s the difference?
If you are the person who always seems to meet people with the minds of steel, then it might be because you are far too antagonistic.
So, learn to become a friend, not a foe. Friends will never easily oppose you, and they will often bend over backward to see things your way if they care about you. Yes, even when they don’t agree with you.
Make the person emotionally invested in you, and they will naturally want to see things from your perspective.
When someone feels that you are attacking them, their instinct will be to oppose you, even though they inwardly agree with what you are saying.
Yes, there is a difference between you and your opinions.
Someone who is opposed to you personally because you come off as an adversary might also decide to reject anything you say.
Being friendly and having a genuine concern for another person’s wellbeing is also a great way to change someone’s opinion of you.
The trick is to respect the person, their opinions, and chances are that they will respond more positively to you.
2. Focus On The Benefits Of Your Stance
Maybe you want someone to agree with an argument you are making, but if you fail to make a good case for it, they might not buy into it.
In the psychology of changing people’s minds, the best way to have the person agree with you is to start with the benefits first, especially those that touch them personally.
When you start with the downsides or only the things that benefit you, you will have a very tough job getting the person to agree with you.
Highlighting the benefits and minimizing the downsides is one of the proven ways to change someone’s mind. But be careful not to get manipulative by hiding all the downsides to the ideas you are proposing.
If someone suffers the consequences you intentionally hid from them, you will certainly lose the person’s trust and possibly the friendship.
3. Give The Person A Chance To Save Face
Part of the reason why it is so hard to change someone’s mind is that you give them the impression that you think less of them for having a contrary opinion.
For instance, you were arguing about the best new show on television. But you start by speaking ill of everyone who does not see things your way.
Even if you have the facts to convince this person that you were right, they might hold on to their positions because they don’t want to lose face.
That is why it’s important to argue in a respectful manner.
Don’t have a “take no prisoner’s” stance during verbal face-offs. By allowing people to change their minds, they will be more likely to agree with you when you try to convince them your opinion is superior.
Saying “that’s such a stupid argument” will make the person incapable of agreeing with you because that will mean admitting to being stupid.
Instead, throw in a compliment and make them feel their ideas are respected.
And don’t think focusing on the facts is what really works.
You can have tons of evidence and still not convince the person to agree with you. It doesn't matter if they don’t have any credible proof to back their standpoints.
Facts often come off as attacks, and the other person will obviously fight back or retreat, not go in for a hug.
Instead, focus on sowing doubts into their points of view, and they will talk themselves out of their positions themselves without feeling attacked.
Dispensing facts makes the person feel stupid, and in addition, you come off as high-headed.
But asking the person questions about their argument in a way that makes them see they know a lot less than they think they do will sow doubt. It will also make them more welcoming to a different point of view (your point of view).
4. Point Out How The Two Of You Agree
One of the ways to change someone’s mind is to make them see you are practically of the same mind. You can do this by showing them all the ways in which your viewpoints are similar.
After such a revelation, the person will see that your point of view is as agreeable as theirs, after all, making them agree with you.
You can even convince the person that someone they respect has the same opinion as you, but without making it all about you being right. Nobody likes a smartass.
For instance, if you know a person is a big fan of a certain public figure, point out that this role model sees things differently. The person will be more inclined to have a similar opinion.
5. If All Fails, Talk Fast
Some people are really determined to hold on to their positions, however cordial, friendly, and respectful you are while making your argument. So, how do you convince a stubborn person to change their mind?
A study by the University of Georgia discovered that talking fast to someone who is opposed to you makes you more persuasive.
First of all, the person does not get enough time to think about what you are saying and make a rebuttal.
It is something of a desperate move, but it works. I’m sure you have seen it in movies. People agree with someone just to “shut them up.” That’s how talking fast helps you win an argument.
However, there’s a catch.
You still have to speak in a way that makes the person receptive to your argument through proper body language. Speaking fast in a disrespectful manner might end in the person walking away or hanging up if you were talking on the phone.
And you won't have won that argument then, will you?
So, all the above points still apply even when you are talking fast. Deliver your message respectfully and in a way that makes the person listen and agree with you.
These are ways to actually change someone’s mind if they at first seem reluctant and stubborn. With these tips, you can influence, persuade, and even convince stubborn people to change. But of course, be sure to use this power for good!