Hi Ron Dawson,

thank you for your long response and the respectful way in which you challenge what I wrote.

I totally agree with you that this is easier in theory than in practice. To be honest, I think one could write an entire thesis about the subject and still not cover it exhaustively.

In terms of influencing other people, here are a few thoughts, in no particular order:

  • I agree with you that this doesn’t work with everyone. I believe there are people who are not willing to engage in a debate, so I’m not claiming this works with everyone. For instance, if I were Frodo stuck in Middle Earth, I wouldn’t try reasoning with Sauron.
  • At the same time, I think this works more often than one might think. For instance, consider how Daryl Davis, a Black musician, has been able to convince hundreds of people to leave the KKK.
  • There are a numerous strategies that can help break up calcified positions and arguments. For instance, in mediation, there’s a tool where both people swap seats and swap perspectives to try to understand each other. This can be extremely powerful when both parties are willing to give it a go.
  • I doubt that every person who claims someone else won’t listen have been themselves willing to listen to them.
  • I also doubt that all of them have fully implemented Thomas Oppong’s advice, as opposed to just giving lip service to it and then giving up on it when things got heated. (There are definitely times in my life when I tried to use this approach but then gave up halfway through the conversation… that doesn’t mean the approach doesn’t work, it just means I wasn’t able to stick with it.)

Again, these are just a few additional thoughts as I don’t think it’s possible to cover this matter exhaustively.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Fav topics: passion, purpose & productivity. Devil’s advocate. 🇩🇪 in the 🇺🇸. Past life: BigLaw, academia. Free course: do what you love → bit.ly/2Lbkl3g

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