Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

How to Change Someone's Mind

How to change someone's mind

How to Change Someone's Mind

If you want to change someone's mind, you need to be clear what you mean by that phrase.

It could mean one of two things.

  1. Change what someone thinks is true.
  2. Change someone's behaviour.

1. Change what someone thinks is true

If you want to change someone's belief about what is true, then your best bet is to NOT challenge the belief itself. Instead, question the source of the information that led to the belief.

For example, if he believes in socialism, do NOT criticise socialism directly. If you do, then he will defend socialism. And, in defending his idea, he will come to believe it even more.

Instead, ask him, where did (s)he get the idea from?

Every idea in your head, you got from somewhere. Rather than challenge ideas, question the validity of their source.

Ask questions such as, "Who told you that?"

Or "Where did you get that idea from?".

Or "Where did that idea originate?"

When you ask this question, you change the status of the idea from "a fact" to "something that someone once said, or wrote". The power of the idea is reduced.

It is no longer "a Fact"; only, "Something that someone once said, or wrote".

If you identify the source of an idea, then you can begin to go to work to question the validity of its source. This is a subtler challenge than a full-frontal challenge on the main idea.

Your technique is to question the source and the reliability of the idea.

When you have undermined the source, then it is up to you to suggest an alternative idea and name your source of the new idea.

The conversation would go like this:

"I believe in the redistribution of wealth by taxation."

"Where did you get that idea from?"

"It is a doctrine of socialist politics. I learned about politics in college."

"Where did your college teachers get the idea from?"

"Originally the socialism comes from Karl Marx."

"Karl Marx died broke and penniless and in debt to his friend Frederick Engles. Why do you rely on the economic ideas of a man who died broke and penniless and in debt to his friends?"

Don't Challenge Ideas Directly

The point I want to make is:

If you challenge their ideas directly, they will defend their ideas vigorously.

You won't shift them.

So, challenge ideas indirectly.

If you challenge directly, then they will fight you.

If you challenge the source of their belief, then they will find it harder to fight you.

2. Change someone's behaviour

I will be discussing this part of changing someone's behaviour in a forthcoming blog!

Communication Skills Training Communication Skills Training Course Logo

Communication Skills Training

Do you ever think to yourself, "I know what I mean, but I can't explain it"? You need to be able communicate facts, feelings, information and ideas, in a clear, professional and confident manner. If you want to learn more about our communication skills training, please click here.

Blogs by Email

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog? The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!

Your Comments

Further Reading in Communication - Persuasive Communication

  • Negotiation Skills
    We are not all going to negotiate Brexit, but the ability to negotiate is a key business skill. Good negotiators will be able to come up with a mutually agreeable solution to a tricky problem, or be able to agree a good business deal.
    Read Article >
  • Tips to Improve your communication skills
    Tips to improve your communication skills It's true, isn't it, that almost everyone would benefit if they improved their ability to communicate? Since, in order to achieve your goals, you need to gain the cooperative assistance of others, and since you are not telepathic, then you rely on your ability to...
    Read Article >
  • Communication skills - Common tactics of negotiators
    Communication skills: Common tactics of negotiators What is negotiation? Negotiation is a specialised form of communication that involves two or more groups, each acting in their own self-interest, and each recognising that, to achieve their own self-interest, they need to trade with others, and therefore, must be able to create and...
    Read Article >
  • Effective Communication Strategies
    Effective Communication Strategies Your communication skill is a measure of your ability to transmit your message to the minds of others. If you want to achieve your goals then you need to be able to transmit your message to the minds of others. In addition you will need to be able...
    Read Article >
  • How to change someone's mind
    If you want to change someone's mind about their belief in something, don't challenge the idea itself, but the validity of the source of the belief.
    Read Article >