The Art of Persuasion: Useful Assumptions–Resistance (Series)

The Art of Persuasion: Useful Assumptions–Resistance (Series)

This continues my series of posts on useful assumptions for The Art of Persuasion. Useful assumptions are powerful tools to have at your disposal as you perfect your skills in The Art of Persuasion.

Resistance is a Result

Yes, some of the best ideas are met with resistance. Important solutions fail to be implemented because of resistance. For our purposes, if you meet resistance, it is useful to assume that you’ve put it there. Think of resistance as a form of feedback about how you’ve gone about your persuasive efforts.

Creating Resistance in Others

There are, in fact, several ways to create sure-fire resistance in others. The first is insistence, the idea that persuasion is all about talking rather than listening. Telling and selling instead of caring and sharing. When you find yourself insisting that someone understand something, or listen to you, or agree with your view, or you pour out information at them like a fire hose, there is a good chance that you are creating a negative reaction that will polarize your persuadees against what you have to say.

Creating Resistance In Yourself

Likewise, if you have resistance in yourself to the act of persuading others, your persuadees may feel your discomfort, take on your resistance and make it their own. If you’re not persuaded, people tend to agree with you.

I recall an incident when I was a med student. One of my peers was recommending a dietary change to a patient. His problem was that he didn’t like the item that he was recommending, and his face and voice revealed this to even the most casual observer. He wrinkled his nose and forehead, curled his lip, gasped and then said, “Have you ever tried nutritional yeast?” Taking her cue from him, the patient replied, “No and I don’t want to!”

Another way to create resistance, and perhaps the most insidious, is by projecting on your persuadee that they are resisting what you have to say.

The feedback of resistance is a signal that you need to set your agenda aside, because there’s something important that you’ve missed.

Resistance is nature’s way of saying, “Stop talking. Start listening!”

My next post will cover another useful assumption: Begin with the end in mind.

Previous Useful Assumptions posts:

1. The Art of Persuasion: Improving Your Communications with Useful Assumptions
2. Persuading with Integrity: Recognizing Influence
3. Persuading with Integrity: Questions Have Persuasive Power
4. Flexibility Increases Your Persuasive Ability

Change is inevitable, but progress is not. Discover how you make the difference.

Be well,

Dr. Rick