User:Mrthejazz/On persuading others:

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The worst way to persuade someone to do something is to tell them they're wrong. You can say they are stupid, insult them, berate them, but that won't change them. It will only make them dig in their heels more and resent you for it.

Dale Carnegie wrote in his book aptly titled How to Win Friends and Influence People that, "When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity." Whether so and so is right and you are wrong is missing the point. How often do you know of people openly admitting, "oop, you're right man, I'm totally wrong in my arguments here." Sometimes sure, but usually the person will rather argue with you into absurdity just to not lose face. After an argument goes deep enough, it's no longer about the facts, it's about a bruised ego trying to not look stupid, whether that's on the internet or anywhere else. We would rather agree with the most absurd things then admit we are wrong.

Carnegie points out in his book that Al Capone saw himself as a public benefactor, and I'm sure Alexander the Great, despite his constant war on the world, killing who knows how many people, saw himself as both a god and a uniter of the people. Does that mean anybody would have gotten anywhere by pointing out to him that he was wrong? Fuck no. It took an infection from an arrow in his guts before he realized he was mortal and even then practically died from a broken ego. It happens time and again. Watch two people in a heated argument. See if either of them changes their minds.

edit The other method

If you really want to persuade someone, you got to really get in their head, swallow your pride, admit your own ignorance (not necessarily because you are, but because it drops the ego defenses and makes for civil conversations), and pretend that you agree with them at least on some points. There are some times where this is just not possible to do because your beliefs are so different. I would never "agree" with a lot of things a white supremacist would say. Likewise, you're not going to convince a white supremacist that black people are a-okay, but you might convince them that yes there are actually intelligent black people out there. The closer your point is to theirs, the less cognitive dissonance, the more likely you'll convince them to cede something more minor. Over time, minor points create greater persuasion.

It's Mrthejazz... a case not yet solved. 03:03, August 21, 2010 (UTC)

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