Fact-based persuasion takes time

Edited excerpt from Facing Up To The Fanatics by Douglas Murray:

Afterwards I found myself reflecting on how people’s minds change. It never does happen just there and then, with someone saying, “Yes — I see, I was quite wrong and you’ve changed my mind.” But over time the bits of your own argument that have become unsupportable simply crumble away, usually without you even acknowledging it.

(1) Douglas Murray argues here that people are persuaded by facts, but it takes time. Contrast this with the evidence that people aren’t convinced by facts at all.
(2) Perhaps people are more convinced by stories than facts. Particularly if you set things up so they complete the story themselves.
(3) Cf. How to make your talk or presentation gripping and memorable.

2 thoughts on “Fact-based persuasion takes time

  1. It’s often useful to determine: 1. what facts you agree on; 2. what facts would change your mind; 3. what facts would change the other party’s mind.

    • skmurphy, great point. I’ve often found that asking questions gets people to be open minded in a way that presenting facts doesn’t. By starting off by asking questions, your approach gets people to be fundamentally more open minded.

      This is one of the reasons I’m so interested in asking questions, and there’s an entire category devoted to it here.

      Thank you again for your great comment.

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