Wharton Professor’s Three Point Repeatable Process for Changing Someone’s Mind

Changing Minds - MONTCO Today
According to Warton Professor Ali Pattillo, getting others to see our point of view isn’t always easy. With patience and understanding, he say’s, we can win them over.

By Wendi Rank

I’m always right, which means I spend a lot of time making others understand they’re wrong.

I usually don’t get very far.

As it turns out, I’ve been going about things the wrong way. Which is bizarre because I’m always right.

I’m sure my husband, children, and mother will all back me up on this.

Ali Pattillo of Inverse.com spoke with Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at Wharton who studies the framework of beliefs. Professor Berger says beliefs can be hard to alter thanks to the emotional attachment they provoke.

That emotional attachment drives us to find support for our beliefs while ignoring contradictory information. Essentially, our beliefs are like our children, and we seek constant proof our little darlings are as delightful as we think.

I’m assuming you’re always right, too, if you’ve read this far. If we’re going to get others to abandon their erroneous notions, Professor Berger says we need to recognize a few things.

He’s careful not to say we’ve been wrong all along.

Obstinate Obstacles

Professor Berger notes several reasons others fight back when pushed to change their mind.

Spending time on a belief makes it harder to give up, as does spending money. Your notions may be too different from theirs, or they just need more information before committing to your way of thought.

Identification, Please!

Determine which obstacle applies and you’re halfway there, Professor Berger says. Tackle the argument with that perspective in mind.

Build A Bridge…

When trying to convince others to our way of thinking, Dr. Berger suggests guiding them into seeing the holes in their argument. Allow for acceptable choices, rather than one mandated belief. Offer evidence showing the change is not the hazard it appears.

…Then Build Rome

Bringing others around to your way of thinking is more like building Rome (eight centuries to reach its peak) than building Facebook (five years to become successful). It’s hard work, and you may have to engage several times before your efforts pay off.

But you’ll do it right. And that’s what matters.

Read Pattillo’s full article here.



Wendi Rank is a Willow Grove native with a graduate degree from LaSalle University. She has worked as a school nurse, a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She has previously written for the journal Nursing.


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