Start Your Arguments From the Other Person’s Point of View to Be Persuasive

When you defend your position, your natural inclination is probably to start with the arguments that make the most sense to you. However, if you want to win someone over to your side, it’s better to start with how they see things.

As advice site Big Think explains, starting from the other person’s perspective is a necessary tool to understand. You (probably) don’t need to convince yourself of your own arguments, so it makes little sense to build on things you already know. Instead, show empathy for your debating partner. What do they already know or believe to be true? How can you use this to create a more compelling argument?

Persuasion is always about reaching agreement using the other person’s point of view, not just insisting on what we think. If you ask a question that interests them, they will immediately do it. If their response forms the basis for your next steps, you have a real chance to change your mind.

This inconsistency between the starting points of an argument can explain many of the fundamental differences. A religious person may quote sacred texts to support their arguments, while a less religious person may refer to research or polls. If two people cannot agree on what even counts as strong evidence, they are unlikely to agree on the premise. However, if you can approach the topic with empathy for your partner’s point of view, you can make more progress towards a mutually acceptable conclusion.

The Right Questions Make Others Convince You Are Right | Big think


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