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It's not about winning the debate...

Despite its "Trump" headline, this article from the Harvard Business Review is a good guide on how to encourage someone to change their mind about something. The suggestions would be useful for all sorts of arguments - whether Trump or Clinton now, or closer to home the Brexit controversy or more mundanely for issues in any office or workplace.

Calling people names, pretty obviously, doesn't work. It may vent our frustration, or reaffirm our affinity to our group, or even stake a moral claim (e.g. calling someone a bigot is also claiming that we're better than them); what it won't do is get the victim of the name-calling to change their mind . f anything, it will strengthen their resolve.

Arguing through logic sounds more reasonable, but often doesn't work. This is partly because people don't work 100% on logic, and partly because a debate becomes a contest in which we want to win (and, possibly, be seen to win). Losing a contest isn't a good motivation for someone to change their mind; they want to make a positive choice, not to feed the winner's ego.

It's not about winning the debate; it's about encouraging someone to change their mind. As the old quote says, "It's amazing what you can accomplish if you don't care who takes the credit".


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