5. Three steps to help someone else change
Firstly, the person has to be open to the possibility of change.
People can be very defensive about their habits; behaviours or patterns of thought may have taken years to develop.
Secondly, be warm and supportive.
Remember you’re a helpful friend who is interested in their well-being but is still accepting who they are.
Thirdly, help them develop self-awareness.
A central feature of habits is that people perform them unconsciously and repeatedly in the same situations.
A vital step in changing a habit, then, is identifying the situation in which it occurs.
You can help other people identify the situations by gently pointing out what seems to prompt them to perform the habit.
6. Let people convince themselves
Changing someone’s mind is just as hard as changing their behaviour.
But one useful tip is to use self-persuasion.
Let people talk themselves around to your point of view.
In this recent study, people were more convinced by a talk when they gave it themselves than when they merely heard it passively.
This suggests that we really are persuaded more strongly when we make the argument ourselves, even if it isn’t in line with our own viewpoint.
The same trick works with attitudes to smoking.
People are more put off smoking when they deliver an anti-smoking message than when they passively receive it.
Can you encourage someone to convince themselves to change?
7. The confirmation bias
One major psychological barrier to changing the mind is the confirmation bias.
The confirmation bias is the fact that people search for information that confirms their view of the world and ignore what doesn’t fit.
The way to fight the confirmation bias is simple to state but hard to put into practice.
You have to try and think up and test out alternative hypothesis.
Sounds easy, but it’s not in our nature.
It’s no fun thinking about why we might be misguided or have been misinformed.
Try to point out facts that don’t fit to the other person.
8. Eight steps to changing minds
Changing people’s minds isn’t just about telling them they are wrong; if only it were.
To be convinced people need to hear an alternative account.
This alternative needs to be short and sweet, it needs to be repeated, you need to attack the source of any misinformation and more…
→ Read all 8 ways to change people’s minds here.
Two paths image from Shutterstock
Published: 17 June 2015