This Playbook includes the following sections, select a heading to jump to that section.
UNDERSTAND THEIR POINT OF VIEW
Yes, you have to start here. You can't expect them to shift until you truly have empathised and can see things from their perspective.
Stop being so paranoid. They're not disagreeing because they're out to get to you. They're probably just scared or concerned about their own issues. Use this model to keep perspective.
Do you know nothing about them? Or do you think you know everything about them? If you're on either extreme, you're likely to lack curiosity, and if you want to empathise and understand them, you're going to have to shift that upfront and ask sincere, curious questions to find out more.
KNOW IT GOES BEYOND DATA & FACTS
Convincing someone is not just about making a convincing argument, use this models to gain a broader view of the challenges you'll face.
Have a little humility about your ideas and appreciate that there might be a situation where you and the person you disagree with are both wrong, and both have aspects of the truth at the same time.
A classic when it comes to persuasion, Cialdini's work forms the bedrock of persuasion techniques. You'll likely have to apply all of these elements, just ensure you don't become too manipulative in the process!
Rather than just verbal discussions, set up mini-experiments and opportunities to learn from feedback. Ask them, if you're right what would you expect to see in this situation — then put it to the test with them.
Appreciate that getting started is the hardest part, and consider how you might find a short term and small point of agreement to get things moving. In other words, try opening the conversation to find points of agreement that can be built on gradually.
This sales inspired model is a reminder to focus on the 'What's In It For Me' equation of the argument. Don't just 'describe the thing', consider what it might mean for your audience and why they should care.
What better feedback loops and testing than Split Tests. If possible, go here to validate and challenge ideas.
Position yourself with an understanding that we are all largely irrational, even rationalising beings. This model, a foundation of Behavioural Economics, will help.
Avoid binary conversations and embrace the complexity of the situation with Probabalistsic Thinking. This provides more space for everyone to have some valid ideas that can be further tested and explored.
Dig deeper into their perspective with frameworks such as this, to gain another view on what actually drives and is important to them.
Use this model to understand how people will largely be fear-driven in important areas of change, and how to incorporate this into your communication.
This approach is all about getting below a person's 'request' or on-face position, and understanding the underlying needs that are behind it. Once those needs are uncovered you can often find alternative win-win ways to meet their and your needs. A truly powerful, but difficult technique.
One of the most practical outcomes of the 'rationalising' element of us all, is that we seek information to validate rather than challenge. Explore this model and be sure to ask 'what would I see if I was wrong?' and encourage your audience to ask the same question. At the very least, don't be surprised if your audience picks and chooses their facts — you're likely doing the same thing.
How are you communicating? Not just what, but how? Consider using the Trust Equation to ensure you're building connection and trust.
It's not all about the way you argue, but when you do make an argument you'll want to consider this model.
Want someone to change? Be aware that they are more likely to do it with Temporal Landmarks. Click into the model for more, but consider continuing the conversation in the morning, on a Monday, or just find other ways to encourage a 'Fresh Start'.
Change can be really scary. Be sure to use this model to help anchor the person with some level of safety and certainty, even as you challenge other elements. The more they can anchor themselves, the more they will feel safe to explore new ideas and options.
Ask the person how they would help convince or challenge someone else around the issue. Rather than telling them, encourage them to provide advice that would actually benefit themselves.
This versatile model is a fundamental one for any communication. It encourages you to consider the question: 'compared to what?' That is, what is their point of reference and how is the conversation being framed? You're going to want to 'control the frame' to make a case more compelling or challenge it to help break someone from their current perspective.
And finally, this powerful model steers you away from arguing with them and instead investing energy on finding a pathway where the person can maintain pride and integrity, even as they change their mind.