Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Thoughts on the Power of Persuasion

I think the idea of the power of persuasion is both important and a useful tool. It is worthwhile to persuade a person that your position is the right one. I believe that expressing strong convictions and presenting and defending your point of view is very important in the process of persuading a person to switch from their original position over to agreeing with your point of view.
I think that a person who pretends to be sympathetic with the opponent's position with the purpose to persuade someone to come over to their side leaves himself or herself in a vulnerable position. Plus, the person who you are trying to persuade may hold firm to his or her belief, and may be able to tell that you are wishy-washy on the issue and might try to take advantage of that. Moreover, what if your wishy-washiness is detected as a con, an attempt at manipulation, and you lose credibility?
The more you weaken into a "center" position, or pretending to be a friend of the opposite point of view instead of holding true to your convictions, the more you leave yourself open to the other side's position slowly seeping into your consciousness and then actually converting you over their side, or agreeing with their position.
I believe the only chance a person has of persuading an opposing person to change his or her mind is to hold true to one's point of view firmly and with conviction.


Kyle R. Cupp said...

Holding, expressing, and defending one’s positions and convictions is certainly an important part of the art of persuasion. I don’t remember ever debating anyone who argued otherwise. A wishy-washy disposition about one’s positions doesn’t communicate much basis for accepting their veracity. Wishy-washiness doesn’t persuade. I would hasten to add, though, that a hospitable openness to listen to others and an inclination to learn from them enhances dialogue, and, in my experience, helps convince others to listen to what one has to say. I cannot expect others to listen to me if I do not listen to them. I cannot expect others to learn from me if I am unwilling to learn from them. Persuasion aims at truth, and no one person or group has a monopoly on that. I’d say the best debates in which I’ve engaged resulted in both me and the other gaining a better understanding of truth and a better appreciation of one another’s understanding of truth.

Teresa said...

I do agree that having an openness to listen to others enhances the dialogue. Although, more often than not, when I have listened to others points of view, and then I conveyed my different point of view to them, they just end up mocking me or attacking me for believing in certain principles and values. And, its almost like their trying to tear me down, into changing what I believe. I do believe that you can learn from being open to the opposite point of view. That way you can get an understanding on why the person believes as they do and how they reach that belief.