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When the facts don't matter: what persuasion really is



Today there is much in the news and social media that "facts no longer matter."

By this, people mean that in a world where we have "alternative truth" and "truth" and the consistent spread of lies , the facts no longer have the power to change their minds. But I have to give you an industrial secret: they never did.

In 1972, after news of the Watergate breakthrough made headlines, then-President Richard Nixon still won re-election by landslide because the facts of the time were open to interpretation. Just three years later, Stanford researchers conducted the first study to prove that people cling to their irrational opinions, even with overwhelming evidence that they are wrong. with facts that contradict their beliefs. If you want to change your mind, the facts alone have never been enough.

Reasons are rooted in the science of behavior. At the biological level, our brains are not difficult to search for facts. Instead, we quickly and automatically process opinions that we agree with as if they were facts. In "This is My Truth: Evidence to Confirm Inadvertent Opinion" ** researchers Michael Gilead, Moran Selah and Anat Maril showed not only that our opinions are resistant to change, but also that we inadvertently reject facts that contradict our existing opinions.

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To improve this, all people suffer from confirmation bias. We are looking for information that confirms our views. And we choose the cherries of the facts that support our point of view.

Our desire to validate our existing beliefs also leads us to minimize or ignore data that does not fit our preferred view of the world. We can quickly dismiss factual information that does not agree with our worldview by marking the new facts as somehow wrong or limited. To put it another way (shamelessly stealing from a former colleague): When confronted with facts that do not fit into our frame, we throw away the facts and save the frame (which is easier and less threatening to the ego than getting a new frame).

But people do not simply reject evidence that challenges their beliefs, they go even further. Studies of the often-cited backlash show that when people reject evidence they don't like, their support for their original position is strengthened. In "Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds," * Elizabeth Colbert writes that scientists have concluded that praised human capacity for a reason may have more to do with winning arguments than thinking: "Providing people with accurate information does not seem to helped; they just give it up. "

Reading all this can make you feel hopeless. Don't Be All This tells us that facts alone will not set us free. They will not tell our story. And they will not change hearts and minds. Decision making is rarely a rational process. If you really want to connect with others and displace their thinking, behavior, buying habits, or vocal practices, you need to engage in a process that goes far beyond being hit with statistics or research results.

This book is about persuading people to change their minds. It's not about attracting to your base or preaching your choir. It's about communicating with someone who doesn't know you yet, agrees with you, or sometimes even like you. It is a very difficult challenge to overcome the human instinct of your audience to adhere to their existing situation. It's about giving people a reason to listen and then giving them the right information in the right way so they can change their existing perspective.

All successes in life and in business are based on persuasion skills, Put simply, you can have the best product, the best plan, the best policy, but if you don't tell your story in a way that connects and resonates with your audience, none of that matters. You will not persuade people to choose your company or follow your initiative.

My question to you ̵

1; and often to my clients – is which is more important: to have a good story to tell or to tell your story well? Most people will immediately say that having a good story to tell is much more important. They will say that the important thing is to be a good company, to have a good product, to do a good job. I agree that these things are important. But are they enough? Is the best product always winning in the market? Does the best strategy always work in practice? How you tell your story is just as important as having a good story. It is my job and the job of my company to ensure that companies, issues and people who are important to handle can tell their story in the best way possible. That is the belief.

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. * Lee Ross, Mark R. Lepper, and Michael Hubbard, "Persistence in Self-esteem and Social Perception: Objective Attribution Processes in the Definition Paradigm," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 32, No. 5 (December 1975): 880-92.

** Michael Gilead, Moran Cela and Anat Maril, "This is My Truth: Evidence for Confirming an Involuntary Opinion", Social Psychological and Personality Science (April 2018): doi: 10.1177 / 1948550616262 19659002] *** Elizabeth Colbert, "Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds," The New Yorker February 27, 2017; https: // www.newyorker.com/ magazine / 2017/02/27 / why- facts- don't change – our minds.

Reprinted by Persuasion: Persuading others when the facts do not seem to matter negotiated with TarcherPerigee, imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2019 by Lee Hartley Carter.


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