If you want to be more persuasive, here’s a simple tip:
Binge listen to Martin Luther King Jr’s speeches.
There are some clear lessons on how to write amazing speeches.
And some subtle lessons about how to be a better conversationalist.
That, right there, is a great masterclass in persuasion.
But there’s also a lesson in logic in there. Specifically, how to handle the really dumb stuff that folks sometimes say.
In some of his speeches, he references a (so-called) thinker from an earlier era. This thinker misused formal logic so much, he’d argue this:
“Premise 1: God created humans in his image. Premise 2: God is white. Conclusion: black people aren’t human.”
Now, there is so much wrong with this line of thinking – morally, obviously, but logically as well.
Martin Luther King Jr could have handled this in so many different ways.
He could have argued against it on logical grounds – pointing out the flaws in the premises and the conclusion.
He could have ignored this argument, rather than bring it up multiple times.
My instinct is to make fun of it. You could use the same ‘logic’ to ‘prove’ women aren’t human, therefore this thinker is admitting to, shall we say, sinful relations.
But MLK doesn’t do any of that.
Instead, after running through this false logic, he simply says something like:
“People don’t think like that anymore. The racism we face today is on cultural grounds.”
There’s a lot to unpack here from a persuasion angle.
The rhetoric is beautiful and powerful – and you can hear the crowd react to it when he says it.
It makes an undesirable idea sound antiquated.
It crushes a niche opinion without giving it too much attention (and, with it, credibility).
If I were here to teach you persuasion, I’d unpack all of that. And I’d point out how most folks use this ‘technique’ against unsuitable targets, which does nothing but make them look foolish.
But I’m not here to teach you that.
I’m here to show you how to raise the waterline of your own sanity.
To boost your mental power.
So instead, I’ll say this:
Sometimes, the lies you believe about yourself are insidious. They take deep soul searching to unmask and resolve.
And some are so fragile, merely saying them breaks them.
You’d hardly call this a powerful hypnotic technique – simply taking someone’s faulty beliefs and making them explicit. But I’ve done that with clients and it can work brilliantly.
Not always… but often enough to keep it in my back pocket.
And it use it with myself.
For the tougher, more entrenched beliefs?
Well, everyone has dabbled in introspection.
But, for most folks, it’s been a casual peek inside their own mind.
With even a little hypnotic work, you’d pop a dozen of these beliefs without even meaning to.
The bigger lies take more work, but you’d be amazed how good to feels to banish a swarm of little ones.
You can begin this work right now: