Looking to persuade an individual or audience that you know is defensive? Turns out the best approach is not always what you might have been taught in school — simply laying out the arguments and evidence in favor of your position.
Instead, engaging those individuals by inviting their opinions can be more powerful:
… a 2006 study
published in Social Influence
shows the importance of the “question-behavior effect” as a social influence technique: Asking questions, instead of providing answers, can overcome people’s defensiveness – and make them more likely to be open to agreement.
This isn’t the best approach with everyone, however. People who like to make quick decisions and move on may be more amenable to an approach where you simply present your evidence.