“To convince” means “to provoke debate” and rarely works

August 18, 2015 by Joshua
in Humor, Leadership, Relationships, Tips

Talk about leading people and a lot of people will talk to you about convincing people as a way of leading them.

I recommend against this strategy. Convincing someone implies logically debating. Changing someone’s behavior means changing their motivations, which means changing their emotions. Logical argument evokes emotions of debate. Convincing motivates people to disagree. They also feel like you’re trying to impose your values on them. If you disagree with me right now, your own emotional reaction is illustrating the point!

In other words:

I will convince you that trying to convince people provokes disagreement.

Either you agree with me, in which case you agree.

Or you disagree with me, in which case you’ve illustrated my point.

People who try to convince a lot undermine relationships.

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2 responses on ““To convince” means “to provoke debate” and rarely works

  1. Well said. Great post. Very hard to put into action. Thanks for posting, Josh.

    • Thanks.

      It may seem hard at first. My experience is that if I pay attention to the other person’s motivations more than my facts and logic, then when I convince I catch myself and think, “what am I doing?! I’m provoking an argument.” And that tells me to get back on the rails.

      Then it’s a matter of habit and developing skills that make leading effectively easier than trying to convince. I’m not saying I’m the world’s leading expert, but I’ve come a long way.

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