What is the most effective method of persuasion? Can I/how can I apply the best ones? I would love an in-depth, research-supported answer... anecdotes are also fine but I do have some personal caveats that I suspect will complicate things.
Here is the short question:
I am interested in trying to sway people's opinions. I want these approaches to be results-based. I am interested in what the research supports but also am seeking advice for my own 'approach'. This applies to a wide variety of things encountered in life, but I am specifically wondering about issues regarding things like politics and policies, social justice and racism, environmentalism, etc. What are the (preferably demonstrated or proven) effective ways of changing people's minds?
did help a bit but I'm hoping more for studies.
Here are the caveats:
So I'm interested in this question because I would love to utilize
these methods to full-effect. Full disclosure: I am a 'goddamn liberal', as my late grandfather lovingly (really) called me. The only one he could ever love.
Here is the potential problem. I would love honest and correct answers (preferably backed by research), but if what you are finding on the topic--like some things I've read--suggests that lying, extreme rhetoric, or fear are the best options for actual results
can you offer me any alternative ways of making these arguments or utilizing these 'tools'?
I really, really
can't lie to people. I've tried, and it just doesn't work. I lean naturally towards reason and evidence-based arguments and logic, and as a result have and may change my mind from time to time if new, viable ideas/evidence present themselves. I also have a tendency to understand (though not necessarily agree with) where my fellow discussion partner is getting their opinions and why they might have them. Sympathy or mutual understanding seems to undermine arguments sometimes as it is seen as 'weak' but without it you can't really call what you're doing a discussion, you're just two sides entrenched in your own opinions, yelling at each-other.
I understand that some parties are simply not going to be swayed by whatever you present them, and that things must be approached differently for different groups (family vs. friends vs. street-strangers vs. internet). And for the record I do not initiate most conversations with the intent to proselytize
, but more and more the topic seems to trend naturally towards things I feel strongly about, and when these opportunities occur I would like to make the most of them.
At current, my 'approach' is to simply have a respectful discussion. An example is my high school reunion: a classmate who I genuinely like had a good discussion with me in which he admitted his unfortunate racism and racist views, to which I really couldn't say that much (difficult to explain) out of concern of driving him off (he is a friend, still). He discussed Obama's intention of taking away his guns to which I gently asked what made him think that and what laws had Obama tried to pass to restrict them. I came up with one that really wasn't that restrictive (closing loopholes) and he didn't couldn't really come up with much else. We briefly discussed immigration issues. I made jokes about how we shouldn't be talking politics because we were about as far away from each-other as we could probably be, but we still talked until the conversation sort of petered out naturally. Still good feelings all around; I don't think he's stupid, just maybe a little ignorant and misguided.
With my dad I think I've contributed to some very good progress; he no longer buys the Fox News spin hook, line, and sinker.
Basically I guess I just go with repeated but respectful exposure to the reality of these things and hope that, eventually, it either takes or at least dampens
extreme viewpoints that don't necessarily reflect reality. Is that the best I can do? Any suggestions?