How to Change a Mind: Yours, and Others

Authored by Jay Cone

Why is it so hard to change people's minds? There are countless books and seminars that attempt to explain why -- and then tell us how to be convincing, or how to mount an effective argument. But arguing is often not the best way to change minds, no matter what the technique.

Advice on influencing others generally focuses on enhancing our ability to convince. Formulas for making a compelling argument range from Aristotle's Rhetoric to Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. While a skillful argument can be a productive approach to influence, there are times when even the most articulate advocacy falls on deaf ears — or worse, encourages and fortifies opposition. Consider, for example, a political campaign ad attacking a candidate you strongly support. . . will it convince you to change your mind, or cause you to dig in your heels?

Read Jay Cone's white paper to learn an influencing technique.

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