The other day I stumbled upon an article that someone shared on social media with these words:
Thank you for this article which confirms my thinking so much.
It’s a great reminder of how people are looking for statements that reinforce their point of view. She didn’t thank the author for a balanced view on the topic, let alone for challenging her point of view. She specifically thanked the author for confirming it. She appreciated being right.
This is yet another hint at how hard it actually is to convince people of something they don’t believe, yet. It’s so much easier to resonate with what they already believe.
Marketers and politicians understand this better and better and it is one reason why worldviews seem to drift more and more apart. As more and more people become good at resonating with what people already believe, worldviews are more and more reinforced, ever less likely to find common ground.
It’s also an important reminder of how essential empathy is for communicators. If you don’t see what they see, if you can’t understand why what they believe is true from their perspective, if you are not willing to acknowledge their point of view, it’s going to be a tough sale to make them see what you see.
Yet, given the deep separations of today, it’s more important than ever that, as communicators, we succeed in resonating with those who disagree. To find the common ground. To find ways to make them see what we see. However, this is not going to work by insisting that we are right and they are wrong but by resonating with what’s important to them and making them see it from their perspective. If you can’t do this then how is your audience supposed to be able to do it?