Juliana Schroeder, assistant professor of management of organizations at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, and her colleagues conducted a survey of almost 300 people, who were asked to watch, listen, and read arguments about subjects they agreed or disagreed with. They were asked to judge the character of the communicator and the quality or veracity of the argument. Schroeder’s team found that the participants who watched or listened to the communicator were less dismissive of their claims than when they read that communicator’s same argument, according to a story posted on FastCompany.com.
Here are 3 tips on how to use the study's findings to give your argument the chance of being truly understood.
1. Work backward from another person's known belief.
We live in a world of digital, primarily text-based, communication. While that is great for convenience (you can read a message when you want to), Schroeder’s work suggests that’s horrible for times when you need to convince people who disagree with you, as people are more prone to dehumanize you when you communicate in writing.
Of course, sometimes we have no option but to communicate via text. If this is the case, it’s imperative to be extra attentive to your choice of words and phrases. Using non-emotive, fact-based, to-the-point arguments are the best way to combat the reader’s natural penchant to dehumanize you.
2. Opt for in-person communication if possible.
Ideally, you’ll want to always choose to convey your argument in person if you can. In the workplace, speaking to someone in person often involves nothing more than walking a few doors down to their office. And that’s exactly what you should do if you need to convince that boss or colleague of why your blueprint for the company or project is the right one.
3. Video conferencing is better than email.
It’s now easier than ever to communicate with people by voice or video call. So before sending an email or posting a message, open Skype or Facebook Messenger for an audio or video call so the recipient of your message can hear the variance and cues in your voice.