Convince less, listen more

Daniel Engelberg
1 min readSep 16, 2021


Photo by Headway on Unsplash

I used to try to change organizations and people by convincing them, but I eventually realized it’s a hard way to work.

If you’re trying to use an argument to convince people who strongly disagree or are highly skeptical, then you’re starting from a position of weakness and high risk. And you’re engaging in conflict. I try to avoid those situations.

You can sometimes use logical arguments to win a battle, but it rarely changes underlying beliefs. It doesn’t make people into friends and allies, and that’s more important in the long run.

Real communication requires trust and a common frame of reference. It’s hard for people to switch to your frame of reference when theirs is very different.

If you listen to the person with an open mind and heart, then maybe they’ll let you into *their* frame of reference. They might tell you about their unspoken pains and experiences and worries that were motivating their viewpoint. Then maybe communication can start.