Scientists reveal five simple tricks to get someone to change their mind

From encouraging your friends to meet at your favourite bar to asking for a pay rise, persuading someone to accept your point of view can be a tricky task. Photo / Getty Images
From encouraging your friends to meet at your favourite bar to asking for a pay rise, persuading someone to accept your point of view can be a tricky task. Photo / Getty Images

From encouraging your friends to meet at your favourite bar to asking for a pay rise, persuading someone to accept your point of view can be a tricky task.

Now experts have revealed five tricks to always getting your own way.

The ideas come from famous philosophers such as Blaise Pascal and are combined with modern techniques in psychology - and they could be all you need to change someone's mind.

1. TELL SOMEONE THE WAYS THEY ARE RIGHT

In the 17th century, French philosopher Blaise Pascal said the trick to persuading others is simple; the most effective way to change someone's mind before disagreeing with them is by pointing out the ways they are right.

Robert Cialdini, psychology professor at Arizona State University told MailOnline this still holds true.

"By initially describing areas of agreement with another's position, the communicator comes to be seen as a more reasonable and likable individual, thereby increasing his or her persuasiveness," Professor Cialdini said.

"By pointing out the ways in which someone is right, you might enhance your position as a credible interlocutor," Dr Adam Harris, lecturer in experimental psychology at University College London told MailOnline.

This is because of something known as the backfire effect - which means when someone's deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs actually get stronger.

2. MAKE SOMEONE DISCOVER YOUR POINT OF VIEW THEMSELVES

Pascal also argued "people are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others."

"It is true that people are more convinced by their own thinking than by the persuasive assertions of others,' Professor Cialdini said.

"Socrates pioneered this approach.

"He was famous for persuading others to come into line with his thinking by simply asking them questions.

"It was those answers that created significant change because they came from inside his audience, not from Socrates himself. "

But, in modern society, the reality is not always that simple, others have argued.

3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT MESSENGER

"It is true that disagreeing with someone can lead to backfire effects, such that stating the truth can cause more harm than good,' Professor Bradley Love, from UCL told MailOnline.

"However, I am not sure Pascal's idea makes as much sense in modern times."

Instead, Professor Love says you have to choose the right messengers.

Professor Love runs a laboratory at UCL centred around human learning and decision making.

He says the idea of persuasion is made more complicated now because most of what we know now is from third-party observation instead of our own experiences.

This means there are some strategies that could be more likely to persuade those with opposite points of view than others.

"For example, choosing the right messenger can be very effective," he said.

"A messenger who shares common values with the audience and can share perspective may be effective even if the messenger is not agreeing on a specific point.

"For example, maybe a messenger on climate change who is very much against government regulation of industry could persuade climate deniers that the Earth is getting hotter overall.

"Such a person could establish common ground and be less threatening to core values without denying facts."

4. TELL A STORY

People can often be more easily persuaded by hearing stories than just facts that prove the story they believe is not true, according to Professor Love.

This means one way to persuade someone to change their minds is by offering an alternative story.

"One thing I find counter-intuitive that works is that when someone spreads misinformation it is better to replace the falsehood with an alternative explanation that to focus on refuting the claim," Professor Love told MailOnline.

"Basically, the falsehood is a story and rather than ripping that story apart it works better to simply replace the false story with the true one that people can hold onto."

5. TRY SOME 'PRE-SUASION'

Professor Cialdini says there are a few tricks people can do before even starting to persuade someone, that will make them more likely to change their mind.

It is not just what we say or how we say it that counts, he argues, but also what goes on in the moments before we speak.

In his new book, Pre-Suasion, Professor Cialdini explains what people can do in those key seconds that determine the success of an attempt to influence, persuade or win over someone else.

The tricks including reading the person, and recognising when they will be more receptive to your persuasion attempts, for example.

Another way is to admit a weakness, making others believe you are more honest.

Professor Cialdini says thees tricks have been going on for hundreds of years.

"In 1588, British troops massed against a sea invasion from Spain at Tilbury were deeply concerned that their leader Queen Elizabeth I, as a woman, would not be up to the rigors of battle," he said.

"In addressing the men, she dispelled their fears pre-suasively: first acknowledging the concern by admitting a weakness, which established her honesty for whatever she said next, and then following it with a strength that demolished the weakness."

- Daily Mail

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