Researchers from Cornell University looked at about two years worth of posting on the “ChangeMyView” forum on Reddit. The topics looked at cover everything from “big business is good” to “near-death experiences are pretty good evidence of an afterlife.” By looking at the conversations, researches were able to look at what actually worked in changing someone’s mind. So if you’re looking to change someone’s mind quickly, here’s how they suggest how.
- First, discover if the person is open to other ideas. The language someone uses to express their opinion can tell you a lot about whether their opinion is changeable. “I” suggests the opinion is malleable but “we” suggests the opposite.
- It’s a numbers game. The more people trying to change someone’s opinion, the more likely the change happened.
- Timing is everything. You’re more likely to change someone’s mind (at least online) if you’re one of the first people to respond to the post.
- Always use calm language. It can lull people over to your side, whereas getting all worked can deter people.
- Use specific examples to get your point across. Try definite articles like “the” instead of “a.” Sharing supporting material helps, too.
- Don’t quote the person back to themselves. It can backfire as people tend to take this as criticizing them.
- Limit the amount of exchanges. Too many back-and-forth comments, like more than three or four, will result in someone not changing their mind.