Why I don’t try to convince

January 25, 2019 by Joshua
in Blog

“How do you plan to convince him of that?”

“I want to convince them to help.”

People talk about convincing a lot. Maybe I hear it more since I teach leadership and people link leadership with convincing.

I see convincing as nearly the opposite of leadership. I’ve written before how when I hear the word convince, I substitute “provoke debate” for it and find the sentence more accurate.

The emotions and motivation the act of convincing provokes are about debate. Trying to convince motivates people to debate you, often leading them to hold positions more strongly. You lead them, but the opposite direction you meant.

The Root of Convincing

The English language backs me up. Here are the roots of the word:

  • Latin convincere, to prove wrong : com-, intensive pref.; see com- + vincere, to conquer.

Here’s a screen shot from a different dictionary

A screen shot from the dictionary

To prove wrong! To refute! To conquer!

When was the last time someone trying to prove you wrong led you to simply accept what they said?

How often does someone trying to conquer you led you to follow them?

My recommendation

If your goal is to lead someone, I recommend never trying to convince them. If convincing is one of your standard methods, I recommend learning other ways.

Not that I’m trying to sell my book, but unit 4 covers techniques that influence that work more effectively and build relationships where people like working with you.

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