Do you know people that are just completely wrong? Maybe you shouldn’t tell them.
I Won’t Stop Being Stubborn Until You Say I’m Not
So, here’s something crazy: a study in HP’s Social Computing Research Group found that people didn’t like to change their minds. In fact, they found that the more people that disagreed with them, the more they dug in their heels.
There have been studies that show that facts don’t typically change other’s minds. It seems we are more prone to believe we are right, regardless of if we are right. The belief, it seems, is more important than the truth. As one researcher put it, “Once formed, impressions are remarkably perseverant.”
A Little Understanding
Maybe it’s better not to try to tell someone else they’re wrong. Maybe it’s better to gain a little understanding. Maybe it’s better to try to see things from the other person’s point of view.
In the book Buy In, author John P. Potter shows that the best way to get people on board is not by dismissing their concerns, but by listening, understanding, and then addressing their concerns. Dismissing their concerns, it seems, is a great way to anger and alienate not only them, but others as well. Showing respect and understanding helps build bridges to changing minds.
Even on this blog, we’ve talked about running alongside others and how to best change someone’s mind. It’s not by telling them they are wrong. It’s about listening and helping them see the truth for themselves.
“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”, as the saying goes. “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” But a person who feels respected, valued, and heard, will more likely be ready to absorb new information and change.
If you wish, you can tell people they are wrong. I won’t tell you you’re wrong for doing it. But I would love to hear how you think it will work. I think it would be an interesting discussion.