Do Not Push Against Beliefs
“I have yet to meet in my life someone who allowed a fact to overwhelm a belief” (Dr David Martin)
This is an important quote which shows that when we try to challenge someone’s beliefs with a load of information / facts, it will usually just bang against their belief system, much in the same way a fly bangs into a window.
The conscious mind is resisting the new information, as it contradicts a current belief held. Often, these beliefs are falsely inserted via conditioning with false information. You can help the process of updating the belief greatly by skilfully asking questions so the person can see the belief is based on false information OR by telling stories that update the information on which the belief is built.
Do not challenge the belief itself or use sentences such as ‘that is not true’ or ‘you are wrong’ as it will only get into a debate of ‘he said, she said’.
Optimal Way to Deliver Information
It’s no coincidence that most people get their information through news stories. Since the dawn of time, people have passed information from one generation to the next through stories and metaphors, including the imparting of morals and values to the next generation. The brain is literally structured to absorb information in this way.
Your use of stories and metaphors will reduce resistance from the conscious mind and also provide a more entertaining way to absorb information more easily.
People Arrive at Their Own Conclusions
It has been the author’s experience that telling people one’s conclusions rarely works, since they do not yet have the information you have on which your reasoning is based. Once you have navigated the obstacle of a person’s conditioning and have them realise new information, they will arrive at their own conclusions. This is far more powerful.
Do Not Tell Someone They Are Wrong
This will inevitably get a person’s back up and put them on the defensive. There is no need for this. The person will come to realise this if your approach follows all the principles and is respectful. This is a tough realisation and your response should be to help the person deal with this and not to create any further stress with ‘I told you so’.
Do Not Gas Light
Avoid at all costs emotionally manipulating the person. The government has done a great job of this and each of us needs care and understanding, not further guilt trips or any other such emotional gas lighting.
The Idea is the Enemy, Not the Person
It is important to see a distinction between the person and the faulty idea. Good people can do bad things if they have a bad idea. Once you can separate the person from the idea, they are free of it. See the person as a friend and the idea as the enemy.
Often No Need for Our Opinions
There is often no need for us to express our opinions. You can stick to facts quoted by experts and other such information. This can allow you to bypass the authority conditioning to which the person is likely vulnerable.
Be Gentle and Kind
Being in the other person’s corner is so important and being kind will really help them feel this. Being gentle and kind should be the basis of communication from one person to another. Reminding ourselves of this can really help communication.
This is key when it comes to the point where they either realise cognitive dissonance or know they have been misled. There will be lots of uncomfortable emotions for them. By being humble and supportive you do not add to this stress but help reduce it. We are essentially advising you not to rub their noses in it or use terms such as ‘I told you so’.
Know Your Audience
If you invited someone round for dinner you might check what preferences of food they had, mightn’t you? This is a similar concept. Know what topics and items will be good for discussion and which items are not wise to discuss.
“If you are speaking more than them, you are probably doing it wrong”. (Larkin Rose, Candles in the Dark)
By listening we can connect better and also understand how the subjects are affecting the person we are speaking with. This allows better understanding of where their knowledge might not be accurate.
Give Space for Silence
There will be times when silence is needed, especially if the other person is thinking. Our goal is not to win but to help share important knowledge. When the person is deep in thought or better still saying, “I need to think about this”, allow them silence. Be aware of how they are.
Know When to Stop or Pause
There are natural conclusions of conversations. When the host starts hoovering, it is probably time to leave the party. If you respect each of the dos and don’ts, it is likely you will have a good connection and be welcome back.
If it is appropriate, ask them if they would like further reading or offer to speak to them in future.
Don’t Return the Dignity Violation
There may be times when you have followed all the above and the other person is still rude or obnoxious. In this case, don’t return the dignity violation; leave them to be the only one to be rude. Often, later they will calm down and apologise. Again, as Ghandi said, “An eye for an eye and the whole world will be blind”.
To help you reach people effectively, visit https://reachingpeople.net. Here you can download and share this document, access a step-by-step guide and find details of weekly interactive sessions on distilling sharable content, unpacking the psychology and mindset strategies outlined here and optimising your emotional and energetic state for effective communications and wellbeing.