A recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that when trying to change someone’s mind, the best thing to do is listen. The article sited a powerful example where this approach led to change of a deeply-rooted and troubling custom among some Pakistani tribes.

Frequently, instead of listening, we tend to craft an argument in favor of our position and debate relentlessly, which is more likely to drive a wedge between the parties involved. Intense focus on our position prevents us from hearing and understanding opposing views.

Instead, ask questions that draw out the reasons for the other’s position. When possible, prepare for such conversations by writing on an index card key ideas you can share. On the other side, brainstorm questions you want to ask and what you hope to learn. This will help open your mind to listening and potentially lead to mutual understanding and a shared solution between parties that seemed far apart.

Click here for the Harvard Business Review Article