The Right Questions Get Others to Convince Themselves You’re Right

Dan Pink explains how to use a couple of questions to help another person persuade themselves that you’re right.

It’s not quite a trick, but it sure works: Asking the right questions. Questions can be the difference between stating what you think someone should think or letting them come up their own good reasons for doing so.


Management consultant Dan Pink says, “The key here is that we tend to think that persuasion or motivation is something that one person does to another” when in fact, the trick is to get the person to persuade themselves. That’s where the questions come in.

 

As a parent of a teenager who could have been the one Pink describes, I’d say there could scarcely be a more perfect example of impenetrable intransigence. And yet, after years of fruitless begging, mine has decided — for her own reasons — to keep her room clean, thus proving Pink’s premise that her parents’ reasons were never really the point.

Persuasion is always about building agreement using the other person’s point of view, not simply insisting on what we think. If you ask a question that interests them, they’re immediately engaged. With their answer as the foundation of your followup, you’ve got a real chance at changing a mind.

 

 

Headline image: VECTORWORKS_ENTERPRISE

Personal Growth

The life choices that had led me to be sitting in a booth underneath a banner that read “Ask a Philosopher" – at the entrance to the New York City subway at 57th and 8th – were perhaps random but inevitable.

Keep reading Show less

Golden blood: the rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

'Self is not entirely lost in dementia,' argues new review

The assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" is wrong, say researchers.

Photo credit: Darren Hauck / Getty Images
Mind & Brain

In the past when scholars have reflected on the psychological impact of dementia they have frequently referred to the loss of the "self" in dramatic and devastating terms, using language such as the "unbecoming of the self" or the "disintegration" of the self. In a new review released as a preprint at PsyArXiv, an international team of psychologists led by Muireann Irish at the University of Sydney challenge this bleak picture which they attribute to the common, but mistaken, assumption "that without memory, there can be no self" (as encapsulated by the line from Hume: "Memory alone… 'tis to be considered… as the source of personal identity").

Keep reading Show less