When you’re defending your position, your natural inclination is probably to start with the arguments that make the most sense to you. However, if you want to persuade someone to your side, it can help to begin with how they see things.
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As advice site Big Think explains, beginning with the other person’s point of view is a necessary tool to build understanding. You (probably) don’t need to convince yourself of your own argument, so building on the foundation of things you already know makes little sense. Instead, empathise with your debate partner. What do they already know or believe to be true? How can you build on that to make a more solid argument?
Persuasion is always about building agreement using the other person’s point of view, not simply insisting on what we think. If you ask a question that interests them, they’re immediately engaged. With their answer as the foundation of your followup, you’ve got a real chance at changing a mind.
This disconnect between origin points in an argument can explain a lot of fundamental differences. A religious person may cite holy texts to support their arguments, while a less religious person may cite studies or polls. If two people can’t agree on what even counts as solid evidence, they’re unlikely to agree on a premise. However, if you can tackle a topic by empathising with your partner’s viewpoint, you can make more progress towards a mutually acceptable conclusion.