5 Steps to Changing His Mind

Ever been in a situation where your guy just won’t budge?

He’s convinced he’s got it all figured out. He won’t listen. It’s like hitting a brick wall.

You turn to your friends for advice, and what do they say?

  • “Reward him for doing it your way.”
  • “Make him think it was his idea.”
  • “Act helpless.”
  • “Tell him he’s being an idiot.”

You groan. Not helping!

It’s time to turn to the professionals.

People who persuade for a living don’t argue like everyday couples.

They don’t set their sights on winning the argument.

Instead, they use time-tested tactics to create agreement.

And you can steal their secrets with these 5 steps to changing anyone’s mind.

Step 1. Find Common Ground

When you’re trying to convince him, the biggest roadblock is resistance.

The moment he feels like you’re trying to change him, it’s game over.

He resists you on principle. He refuses to be made wrong.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to disarm resistance:

Agree with him.

Start out the conversation by agreeing with some of his points.

Show him that the two of you aren’t on opposite sides. You agree in some important ways.

Starting off with agreement primes him for more agreement. You’re not putting him on the defensive; you’re just having a conversation.

Step 2. Ask Insightful Questions

You know his position. You’ve heard him espouse it a thousand times.

But have you ever got curious about why he thinks this way?

There’s always more to the story.

He may have never thought of sharing with you the life experiences that formed his views.

When you get curious about why he thinks the way he thinks, you show him that you’re willing to be open-minded. You’re not dismissing him out of hand.

He feels listened to and validated.

Questions not only help you understand him better, but they can also get him to reflect on his own beliefs.

Questions like:

  • “How do you think that would work?”
  • “If we did it your way, what would the next step be?”
  • “How would we handle such-and-such obstacle?”

…can make him feel less defensive and get him seeing any holes in his plan.

Step 3. Stick to Your Strongest Point

You’ve got easily a dozen reasons why your position is right.

It’s tempting to list them all, one after another. Wow him with the sheer force of logic and evidence.

But that tactic backfires.

If you throw too much at him, he feels attacked. He puts his defenses up.

He doesn’t consider each one of your arguments. He just latches on to the one that sounds weakest and proceeds to demolish it.

Go for quality over quantity instead. Stick to your strongest point.

Dealing with one thing at a time keeps the discussion from getting out of hand.

Step 4. Feelings Talk

When you’re arguing about something important, your emotions creep in.

You can’t be a paragon of logic and reason. You’re a human being, not a robot. Some of the things he says really hurt.

Instead of trying to stamp down your emotions, take a quick break from the discussion. Check in on each other.

How’s he feeling? How are you feeling?

Are you feeling confused? Angry? Disappointed that you can’t agree?

It might not just be you. He might be feeling something similar.

Try saying, “I’m feeling X right now. How are you feeling?” in a calm and nonaccusatory way.

Checking in with each other reminds you that you’re not here to demolish each other. You’re here because you’re loving partners with something to work out.

Step 5. Let the Evidence Decide

If all else fails and you still can’t agree, suggest a friendly experiment.

Propose testing both of your ideas (if it’s possible).

Maybe you could try it his way for a week and your way for a week.

If that’s not possible, suggest talking to an expert or doing some research to find out which approach has the most evidence backing it.

Let the evidence be the tiebreaker and take the pressure off trying to persuade each other.

Now, even with these 5 steps in hand, you might not get anywhere with your guy.

In that case, you should ask him this question:

“Is there anything that would ever make you change your mind about this?”

If his answer is a hard no, then persuading him is a lost cause. Look for ways you can work with or around his position.

On what topic do you wish you could change your guy’s mind?

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