Coping with Belief BiasAs a follow-on to yesterday's post, and to a post from about three years ago, I'd like to mention the suggestions Mario Moussa and Richard Shell offer for handling situations in which you find yourself trying to get a fair hearing from someone who presents a strong "contrary beliefs" barrier.
In a 2007 interview published by the Conference Board, Moussa observes,
Some people are simply not persuadable because their outlook on a topic falls on an extreme end of an ideology. This is the case with things like abortion. So we suggest trying to find a different belief [perhaps deeper] or point of view around which you can come together. Never go head to head against a core belief that someone holds deeply. It's very rare for people to change such beliefs.Moussa offers some additional "workarounds" in a 2007 presentation (pdf) he prepared for the Wharton Strategic Persuasion Workshop:
- Shift audiences
- Fly under the radar
- Aim to advance "one small step"
A further point Shell offers is that you can sometimes actually leverage the other person's beliefs in a way that helps the person see their way clear to cooperating with you.