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Persuade Don't Preach

Restoring Civility Across the Political Divide

What, me preach? Not me!
What do you mean by preaching?
I am not religious, I don’t preach!

I hate to break it to you, but if you're talking without taking into account what the person you're talking to already thinks, you're preaching. Or as one scholar put it, rehearsing what you believe. But preaching is only effective to those already in the choir. It doesn’t work to the people we most want to reach—those who disagree with us. And that leads to broken relationships - with uncles, aunts, friends, neighbors. I know, I have been there. I never spoke to my aunt again after one such incident. I still regret it.

If you want to persuade people and preserve the relationship, if you want people to really hear what you have to say and give it due consideration, then you must learn to talk to people in such a way that they can hear you. Once you’ve got that down, you have a much greater likelihood of being effective at persuading them.

To be successful at this, you need to understand people on a deep level, you need to figure out what really matters to them. Then, you need to adjust your message to take that into account.

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Karen Tibbals @KarenTibbals

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