Let’s say you’re having an argument and your opponent has stated his position clearly. You’d like to persuade him to change his position. But you’re working against the consistency principle — once your opponent has stated a position, inertia keeps him from changing it. Your argument needs to be clear and compelling but it also needs to provide a way for your opponent to change positions gracefully. While it may be tempting, making your opponent feel small or cornered is usually unsuccessful. Remember, you’re interested in persuading, not humiliating. Similarly, making your argument overly abstract doesn’t do much good. You need to get personal and stay positive. Learn more in the video.
This tip has a lot to do with the consistency principle — and how to overcome it. You can find more on the consistency principle here.
Consumer products companies used to run contests asking people to write down — in 25 words or less — why they liked a particular product. People who submitted the most creative entries could win huge prizes, like a house or a car. Contestants focused on the limit of 25 words — how to say something important in a very few words. (Succinct written communication — good practice for Twitter).
But what was really going on? The sponsoring company was getting thousands of people to write down something positive about the product. And once you write something down, you’re likely to behave consistently with what you’ve written. In other words, the sponsoring company induced thousands of people to convince themselves that they like the product. It’s almost like an auto-hypnotic suggestion. It’s called the consistency principle and you can learn more about it in today’s video.