An exchange of viewpoints can be a very tough negotiation. Ideas are like possessions; people don’t want to part with them. Here are eight things to consider whenever you are persuading someone to accept your viewpoint:
1. Talk less, listen more. The other person wants to be heard. When you let the other person talk, you can gain many insights into their viewpoint. Chances are the other person will reciprocate and be more attentive when you speak.
2. Don’t interrupt. Interruptions make people angry and block communication.
3. Don’t be belligerent. When you feel strongly about something, it is more difficult to be soft spoken than harsh. But a soft-spoken person encourages the same treatment from others. An argumentative attitude has little success in changing opinions.
4. Don’t hurry to bring up your own points. As a rule it’s best to hear the other person’s full viewpoint before expressing your own.
5. Restate the other person’s position and objectives as soon as you understand them. People like to know they’ve been heard and understood. This is an inexpensive concession for you to make; it forces you to listen better; and helps you to phrase your points in the other person’s terms.
6. Identify the key issue and stick to it. Cover one point at a time and avoid trying to overwhelm with arguments.
7. Don’t digress and try to keep the other person from digressing. Three ways: temporarily agree on nonessential points, agree to discuss some issues later, treat some issues as not being relevant.
8. You will find it works better to be “for a point of view,” not against one.
When you try to convince another to accept your viewpoint, realize that their acceptance may take some time. Give the other person time to get used to your ideas rather than attempting to force them to make a quick decision. People need time to assimilate anything new or different.
You are asking the other person to exchange your new ideas for their old. It’s just like you are asking them to discard their old friends. Right or wrong, they have grown accustomed and committed to their viewpoints; and it is logical that they will be more receptive to your viewpoint if you simply give them time to adjust.