Building Community Through Better Relationships

Being Loud Doesn’t Mean You’re Right

My Ethics class recently had a highly charged discussion whether sexual preference is genetic or learned. Considering my Ethics class fundamentally focuses on what is right or wrong, or good or bad, the actual examples aren’t really important. However, the thinking leading to their conclusions is crucial! The brutal honesty of this discussion probably shocked everyone. Considering the shared, individual life experiences on this topic, both sides were emotionally invested in being right. And, the volume kept rising!

In a world where opinions and decisions move faster than facts, making a point clearly and succinctly creates significant advantages. Consequently, people who expect to be persuasive and taken seriously must communicate so that their point prevails. Volume does not necessarily win. Facts don’t necessarily win. Communication to create relationship and commonality with the listener wins. Three tactics for effective persuasion are:

Be Passionate
People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. ~Theodore Roosevelt. Successfully making a winning point requires demonstrating that you believe your point. Beyond claiming that you are right, articulate your commitment to your position. Emphasize sincerity. Introduce reasoning that you have considered other points of view. But most importantly, talk to the hearts of your listeners. Sell your point by injecting good feelings into listeners and then, use those feelings as a bridge to your point of view.

Be Patient
Regardless of what mass media or Twitter imposes on us, convincing others of your point does not have to be limited by time and space. Successful persuasion requires patience. Patience is not making points slowly and deliberately. Patience is empathetically listening to the other argument. Whether selling a service or delivering a political point, listen and understand the other side’s objection. Present your response only after they have had their say. Almost as bad as proving you’re right by speaking louder is proving your point by speaking faster. Patience is a virtue that should be offered politely and then demanded in return!

Be Informed
Winning disagreements involve knowing other points of view. Being informed allows better understanding to result in better analysis of a situation. Dots on a page don’t provide the answer, but connecting the dots leads to clearer comprehension. Understand as many facts as available because successful persuasion results from interpreting and presenting facts so that your interpretation prevails. Whether selling, debating, or just plain arguing, effective communication is based on understanding both information and motivation concerning all parties. Then, let your analysis prevail.

Notice that Be Right is not one of the key tactics. Being right is no guarantee that your argument will carry the day. Knowledge is not an absolute. More information continuously becomes available and consequently, more interpretations of truth result. But, presenting beliefs with emotion, patience and understanding can be very convincing.

Regarding my Ethics’ class initial debate regarding sexual orientation being genetic or learned, the class reached no resolution. And frankly, I don’t know either. But, I do know that the louder argument did not prevail. I know that students held tightly to beliefs based solely on individual, anecdotal experiences. And by patiently listening, I know more about my students’ biases and motivations. In essence, I’ll now be able to communicate more persuasively with my students to educate them. I guess, I won!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond


January 12, 2015 - Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Great points Mr. Hunter. The loud and proud need to communicate more effectively and understand both sides of the issue. Classrooms are great places to learn and grow. Well said sir.

    Comment by Dawn Bell-Fears | January 14, 2015 | Reply

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