Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The discussions don’t make sense. To win them you must understand people. So we’ve put together a few points from various scientific investigations so that you know some tactics that will help you win any fight.
1. Be civil. Contrary to what your debating teacher told you, fights are not rational. Respect the other person’s perspective no matter how ridiculous it sounds. “When people have their value validated in some way, they tend to be more receptive to information that challenges their beliefs,” says political psychologist Peter Ditto. When you make that emotional connection, you can think logically.
2. Don’t try to “win” the fight. Attacking someone’s ideas can put you in a “go or fight” mode. Once they are on the precipice there will be nothing to convince them. So if you want to put them on your side, practice “extreme agreement”: take the person’s points of view and try to understand their conclusion, even if it sounds a bit absurd.
3. Don’t ask why, ask how. In a 2013 study, a psychologist named Philip Fernbach separated people with extreme political views into two groups: those who had to explain why they were right and those who were asked to explain why their ideals could be transformed. in real politics. The result? The former had the same confidence in their ideas before and after, the latter had weaker points of view.
4. Follow up. Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull knew Steve Jobs for 26 years. They had some fights. He avoided having strong lawsuits with Jobs and applied the following method:
“I would say something to him and he would immediately reject him because he was thinking faster than me. I would wait a week to call him, I would give him my opinion on what he had said and I would immediately reject it. I was waiting another week … but sometimes this lasted for months. “
Disagreement was resolved in one of three ways: Jobs admitted that Catmull was okay, Catmul realized that Jobs was okay, or Jobs did not respond to Catmull (which meant he approved of it).
5. Ask open-ended questions. If you are having an argument with your wife or husband, psychologist John Gottman says you need to ask questions so that you allow them to open up. For example:
What would you change if you had all the money in the world?
How do you want your life to be in three years?
Do you like your job?
It also works for discussions at work. Open questions help transform competitive interactions into cooperatives.
6. Be confident. People don’t listen to the smartest person in the room. A 2013 study shows that you might hear people act like they know everything.
7. Use graphs. A study by Asner Tal and Crian Wansink shows that people trust scientists. Doing things that make you look like a scientist, like using a graph, makes you look more trustworthy.
8. Show that other people agree. A psychologist named Robert Cialdini says that “social proof” is the fastest way for people to see things your way. We usually assume that what other people do is the correct behavior in a situation. It is the reason why long lines in front of a restaurant make the food inside more tempting.
9. Go beyond the anecdotes. A story about how your uncle or friend eats a lot of butter and stays thin is an anecdote. But if you want to be taken seriously, you need to use data, that is, something with real studies and samples.
Better yet, see for consensus . Scientists resort to this in order to win arguments, and they do so for good reason. Scientific consensus is a collection of opinions from all scientists and not just the one you are conversing with. There may be people who disagree, but if the majority agreed, it means that there is enough evidence to support the idea that it is guaranteed.