Politics is getting uglier, and advocating for your cause has become for some more an issue of volume than persuasion. Many of us are passionate about key issues, and emotions do run high. But yelling and name-calling? It's certainly not how you're going to get me to listen to you, much less consider moving to your position. "I'm right. You're wrong. And you're stupid." is no way to win an argument, much less change someone's opinion and behavior.

If you want to move someone with your message, consider two things:

  1. What works when someone's trying to change your thinking or actions? We know more about persuasion than we think. For example, I'm much more willing to consider other points of view when they're presented rationally but emphatically. Some data, a personal anecdote, maybe a cogent explanation of some sort. These are the things that open my mind and help me see where you're coming from. Even if you're not successful at changing my mind, you're going to succeed at getting me to respect you and your opinion. And I'll be more interested in learning from you going forward. Yell at me and I'm not going to want to be around you at all.
  2. How emotionally attached to their position is the other person? It's one thing to care deeply about an issue. It's quite another to be so emotionally involved that you can't accept there are other points of view. Again, this is a situation we've all been in at some point. And when we're there, cycling through big-time feelings, there's just not a lot of room for opposing points of view. When I'm trying to reach someone who's taking an emotional position, I try hard to be patient, to hold my treatise until things have calmed down a bit.

Of course, it's also important to have a clear and concise case for your position. Download our Advocacy Playbook for step-by-step instructions and successful models..

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