Do you often have a hard time convincing others? Do the words you use fail to bring impact on others? Then you might poorly use facts or opinions without leveraging the power of the duo to win the argument. So what’s the secret recipe for convincing others? Fact-Based opinions are essential to convince others to believe you of a topic at hand, even better if you present them with real examples. Facts have to be used along with sensitivity, and they must back opinions to create impact.
You might think that facts are more critical when stating your point, but sometimes, what is right because it is a fact may turn out not to be. Thus, facts alone without opinions or sentiment may not bring about any change. This is because facts change with time, proving your point to be incorrect.
What Is The Backfire Effect?
Often, we perceive worldly things from our pre-existing experiences and form opinions accordingly, termed as “beliefs.” When presented with factual evidence that challenges those belief systems, we reject that evidence to stand stern with our beliefs.
The inability to accept evidence that contradicts our beliefs is termed the “Backfire Effect.”
Humans are likely to become defensive whenever provided with new information and be firm with their opinions. The human brain has evolved to survive and not reason. That’s why whenever we come across factual evidence that confronts our beliefs, we tend to disagree or isolate ourselves.
The inability to accept new information that doesn’t align with our already preexisting beliefs is known as Confirmation Bias.
Research on confirmation bias concludes that we don’t analyze new information objectively. We only pick out the information that matches our beliefs to feel good and validated.
However, this behavior restricts us from acquiring new information that is factually correct, caging us in our assumptions.
Here are some examples of the Backfire Effect and the Confirmation Bias.
1. The Backfire Effects
A study conducted in 2011 with parents residing in the U.S found that parents who are against vaccinating their children are likely to associate vaccination with autism.
In this case, parents are more biased to this study due to their preexisting beliefs about the vaccine’s ill effects.
2. The Confirmation Bias
A person dealing with self-esteem issues might perceive that others around them do not like them and think negatively of them.
Are Facts And Opinions Similar?
Most people confuse these two statements to be similar. A slight change in a comment may transition it from a fact to an opinion.
For example, “A and B are a married couple.” This is a known fact because it happened and is written.
But, if someone makes a statement that A and B are extremely happy in their marriage, this is an assumption or a collected opinion based on some events; it might be true or false. It is the person who made this statement into an opinion.
Having your own opinions is important, however, it is essential to look at statements before determining what they are conveying and differentiate between facts and opinions.
Why Is It Important to Distinguish Between Fact and Opinion?
It is essential to know the difference between facts and opinions before making an argument.
Being able to tell these two apart will help you judge a statement’s validity, allowing you to convince others to believe and change their minds.
Opinions are every bit as important as facts, and none are superior to the other. Further, it will also help you check the relevance and reliability of a statement and determine whether the given information is true or false.
Distinguish Between Facts Vs. Opinions
Webster’s dictionary defines fact as anything that exists in reality or proven to be true whereas, opinion is defined as something that indicates an individual’s beliefs, views, sentiments, or a conception.
Some people may find it hard to differentiate between facts and opinions. It is essential to understand and know their differences because it helps check matters and make judgments.
What Are Facts?
Facts are objective since they need evidence and research that can be proved as factual statements that exist and are universally believed to be accurate. The facts are regarded as such because they are backed by evidence.
Facts are characterized in three different ways.
- Proven Facts: Those facts that are accepted as real by everyone and are proven to be true.
- Probable Facts: Those facts that are reasonable to believe to be correct but can’t be proved.
- Probable Lies: Statements made that on the surface seem untrue but might as well be right.
What Are Opinions?
Opinions are different from facts, and they are frequently conclusions reached by someone after looking at the facts. While personal opinions are subjective upon one person or object, they do not have any evidence backing them.
Thoughts and beliefs may be true or false, hence not be proved, and it’s only believed to be true only by those making the statements as they are views of an individual.
Opinions are characterized in three different ways:
- Verifiable Opinions: Conclusions reached by someone that we can cross-check.
- Expert Opinion: Where experts give an opinion on a matter they have specialized knowledge in.
- Personal Opinions: Conclusions made relying on the fact and what you believe in.
While facts are truths and nothing else, opinions are thoughts and speculations that lead to controversies. Since facts are strong statements and may stay in history forever, opinions don’t last long since they are only views and might change.
Importance Of Facts While Holding Opinions To Convince Others
1. Saves You From Misinformation
In this digital age, when all it takes is just one click to spread rumors, facts can help you form opinions based on truth and convince others to believe you.
If you want to give your opinion about a subject, it is essential to have facts, because they help you back your ideas. When giving your opinion, facts will help you get your point across.
Although opinions are important because they create a connection with someone to accept your statement, it is also good to have facts.
2. Helps In Knowing The Truth
Facts involve telling the truth, and whatever is true can’t be questioned. Since opinions are based on belief and don’t have evidence, it’s important to have facts.
During a conflict, it is essential not to accept opinions as truth. This is because opinions don’t have truth and can’t be trusted. Thus, when dealing with conflicts, using facts can be your best bet.
One might say that depending only on opinion is wishful thinking and that you have to separate matters of fact and matters of opinion to understand what they mean.
Matters of fact are empirical claims, and matters of opinion are non-empirical claims. An example of the former is whether the earth is spherical, and the latter is your favorite ice cream.
Matters of fact inform matters of opinion, but they don’t answer the questions asked. It is vital to have both matters of fact and opinion to get a concrete answer to your questions.
3. Helps To Persuade Others
It is relevant to have facts while having opinions because opinions persuade others. You may be asked to provide evidence to back them up; hence, facts should inform and make an argument.
In some situations, opinions are more important than facts, while in others, facts are required to back up and support their opinions.
4. Helps Form Beliefs Based On The Truth
Using facts in a statement means that it is accurate and can’t be contradicted, and when you regard something as a fact, you have to provide proof of its truth, which can be hard sometimes.
Sometimes what you think as facts can prove not to be so and turn out to be false no matter how honest and committed you are.
Both facts and opinions need to work together. This is because they have complementary functions in the final decision on a matter. Facts should be used because it is as useful as an opinion.
The Science Behind Persuading People
Before we tell how to convince others, here’s the science behind persuading people.
According to a behavior expert Steve Martin, author of a book on the science of persuasion, these are the key tools to convince others to make them see the world through your eyes:
1. Tap Into Social Norms
Understanding the social norms has an immense impact on our changing behaviors. Tapping into a social norm allows people from different groups to form a common opinion and is a strategic way to influence behavior for effective persuasion.
2. Reciprocate/ Mutual Exchange
Research published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that human behavior is affected when they feel compelled to do something; in return meanwhile, something was done for them.
For example, a customer is more likely to tip a steward if the bill comes with free candies.
How To Convince Others To Believe You With Fact-Based Opinions?
1. Do A Fact Check First
First, to convince others to believe you with fact-based opinions, you have to go back to the definition of fact per Webster. Having looked at it, you have to break it down bit by bit and see if it applies to determine if your opinions are fact-based.
Asking these few questions before will give you an idea if the statement you’re presenting is authentic or not.
- Did this even happen in the past?
- Does this statement exist in reality?
- Are there real people who can confirm this?
If the answers are in the affirmative, then you can go ahead and convince others to believe you.
This is because some individuals don’t accept opinions alone. Since facts are the truth and combining them with opinions is the first step to persuade others to change their minds.
2. Study Their Psychology
According to a research study, people are likely to resist arguments and evidence that challenge the validity of their long-held beliefs. To change their minds, self-affirmation is an effective method.
Through this method, it’s psychologically less unsettling for the person who’s absorbing new evidence.
Keeping this in mind, you can study the psychology of the people you are talking to. Try to find out what they know and what they aren’t aware of. This way, you can influence them to change their minds by presenting facts that favor and discredit their judgments.
Knowing what is already in their head and how they formed such ideas is vital in understanding what might change their minds.
3. Remember The Backfire Effect
Facts alone can’t change someone’s mind because contrary evidence and proofs can make people more convinced about their pre-conceived beliefs. There has hardly been a scenario where someone was inclined to change their mind because of fact.
In order to change and convince others, you have to use other tactics besides facts to make them believe you.
Facts alone can create a backfire effect, which you must avoid.
Therefore, whenever you’re trying to change someone’s mind, you need to consider how you present information to others.
Internalizing new information is a crucial aspect to avoid the backfire effect. Try to be non-confrontational while coming up with facts as it will save the other person from being defensive, allowing them the space to grasp what you’re trying to convey.
4. Try To See Through Their Perspective
If you want to convince others of your argument, you must first see the world through their eyes. Before convincing someone with facts, first understand their views and why they hold them. Then you can identify and persuade them.
We are most likely to believe someone whose arguments we like and respect. This is because we trust them and likely have an emotional connection with them.
That is why advertisement companies involve celebrities to persuade customers to buy their products because we humans have positive feelings whenever utilizing those same products.
5. Acknowledge Their Beliefs
Before changing others’ views, you have to know that convincing someone with only facts won’t bring about the impact you need. This is because we, as humans, don’t like to be left out.
Due to the FOMO, we usually go with a group’s opinion, whether it’s right or wrong.
You have to know that convincing someone who already thinks they know is difficult. The use of both facts and opinions is essential.
6. Have A Discussion About Their View Points
Allow others to discuss their viewpoints without any inhibitions. This enables the other person to convey their thought process without getting defensive.
And if the person is using emotional reasoning, use your own emotional arguments too.
Research has shown that using the same type of reasoning method to the person you want to convince is a more effective way to persuade them.
Don’t argue with them if facts fail and show empathy because their opinions are valid for the place they are coming from.
7. Provide A Safety Net To Fall Back To Your Point
You need to provide a psychological safety net for someone to change their minds. Our beliefs shape our minds and personality, and changing them requires time.
Some people may fear losing their status in a tribe or a group if they change their minds because humans identify themselves with their beliefs, and losing their beliefs is similar to losing one’s identity.
8. Elaborate With Real Life Evidences
Convince others by providing proof of your opinion is a feasible way to convince and change their minds.
Some opinions are hard to prove since one idea varies from another, and there is no way to verify its validity. An example of this may be what your favorite color is. It differs from individual to individual, and proof may not be possible.
In circumstances where proof is possible, it’s crucial to provide the specified evidence.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania researchers found that when you’re trying to convince someone, your job would be way more comfortable if you elaborate with additional information from a respected field of study.
In fact, this study confirmed that participants think that the additional points you shared made an explanation more credible.
You can also repeat your opinion to people to make them accept it as fact, especially in situations where you are sure of the statements you are making.
Facts and opinions are different statements, and some might confuse the two. Analyzing them will help you distinguish between facts and opinion clearly.
When trying to convince others, it’s crucial to use Fact-Based opinions. This enables you to get into their psyche and change their points of view. Not everyone is the same. What one person thinks is right may be completely different from another person’s viewpoint.
Opinions are essential to figuring out what people think, and backing them up with facts is important to get the best out of an argument, as discussed above.
Key Takeaways On How To Persuade Others
- Using fact-based opinion can help you persuade someone to change their minds and convince them to believe you.
- Facts alone without opinions may not bring about any change and may result in backfiring it, i.e., the Backfire Effect.
- The Backfire Effect refers to the inability to process new information that contradicts our long-held beliefs.
- Although facts alone can create a backfire effect, that’s why it’s imperative to be non-confrontational while coming up with facts as it will save the other person from being defensive.
- The human brain has evolved to survive and not to reason; they tend to pick up bits of new information that aligns with their preexisting beliefs. This behavior is known as Confirmation Bias.
- However, this behavior restricts us from acquiring new information that is factually correct, caging us in our assumptions.
Do facts and opinions hold the same meaning?
Facts are objective since they need evidence and research that can be proved as factual statements that exist and are universally believed to be accurate.
Whereas opinions are different from facts, and they are frequently conclusions reached by someone after looking at the facts.
Why are facts important while holding opinions?
- Saves you from misinformation and rumors.
- It helps in knowing the truth.
- It helps to persuade others.
- Form beliefs based on the truth.
What’s the science behind persuading others?
A study published in the Wall Street Journal shows that the strategy to tap into social norms to create a common opinion is an effective method of persuasion to influence others’ behavior.
On the other hand, the reciprocity method has also been significant where human behavior is affected when they feel compelled to do something in return something was done for them.
How to change others’ minds and convince them to believe you?
- Do a fact check first.
- Study their psychology.
- Remember the backfire effect.
- Try to see through their perspective.
- Acknowledge their beliefs.
- Discuss their viewpoints.
- Provide a safety net to fall back to your point.
- Elaborate with real-life evidence.