Speaker’s corner: The heart of persuasion
January 9, 2013 by Jean Oliver, Camosun College toastmasters
Can you say enthymeme? It means “an argument that is built on a premise that is not explicitly stated.”
It describes that feeling you get when you woo someone, instead of trying to force them to your way of thinking.
Think of it this way: you’ve relied on your natural charm to win people over. But in the presence of someone who’s better prepared, and not impressed by passion or wit, it won’t matter how sincerely you pitch. If the premise of your argument is built on sand, the solid ground of their “no” will not shift.
When you’re trying to persuade someone to see your point of view, above all else, avoid arguing. Physiologically, when we say “no,” and mean it, our entire body goes into rejection mode. Check your facts. And instead of launching into your cleverness with words, find a common ground between you and them. Let them convince themselves.
Once you have even a hesitant “yes,” you’re halfway to winning your argument, by never having to argue at all.