Tuesday , 28 March 2023

Conversational Persuasion Means Meeting In The Other Person’s Reality

Do you want to become more powerful, highly effective, and persuasive in your conversations, your writing, and if you’re in business, your marketing?

Then you need to understand and respect the power and durability of beliefs.

Human beliefs are very powerful, very helpful, and very resilient. Many of us try, even before building trust with another person, to convince them that their beliefs are either wrong, misinformed, or inaccurate.

Yet, as human beings, we rely on our beliefs to simplify our world and our decision making. As we repeatedly rely on these beliefs, we come to rely upon them more and more and to value the accuracy of our own beliefs.

While this goes on at largely unconscious level, we start to sort information that supports our beliefs and to ignore information that is inconsistent with our beliefs.

To become more influential and persuasive, you need to:

1. Acknowledge the other persons’ beliefs
2. Build trust
3. Discover their beliefs and understand them

Then, you have to meet that person in their reality and gently bridge from their limiting belief to a broader understanding. Then, and only then, can you begin the process of inspiring your subject to learn, to understand you and what you have to offer them, and to change or evolve their belief structure.

Even if you are successful in the short run in “changing a belief” through surprise, or intimidation, or personal power, you’re likely to fail in the long run.

Beliefs don’t change easily and you’ll often find that when you are no longer right there to coach, to intimidate, and or to “persuade” the other person, that they will simply resort to the old belief.

Real persuasion means learning the others’ world views, what they dream about, as well as their fears and frustrations.

You need to meet them in their reality, and bridge to a new way of thinking. Not to convince them, but to give them everything that they need to convince themselves. Get too far ahead of their beliefs and you seem like a kook or lose their trust.

Instead, build a bridge to a new reality and let them take that bridge as a way to something that they desire and the new way of thinking is likely to stick.

Be well,

Dave Frees


  1. David,

    Great post!! You need to be a little ahead of your customer but not too far ahead. I have learned in my excitement on a new project, it has turned my customers off as I was way too far ahead of them.
    Build a bridge and keep them close to you with you in the lead.


  2. So right you are, Dave. All relationships are about building rapport – when you are in rapport with someone, you let down the shields, and become open to hearing/experiencing new things – but until that time, you (mostly unconsciously) keep some defenses up until you know you can completely trust someone.

    One of the most powerful things we can do for another person is allow them to feel that they are both heard and seen – in other words, that what they think, believe, and do matter – I think it is one of the reasons the new film “Avatar” is so popular – one of the People’s foundational relationships is expressed in the phrase “I see you.”

    Taking the time to genuinely listen and understand builds a foundation that will create greater and more lasting change faster than anything else.

    Kat 🙂

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