Ways to convince a Skeptic…


Part of my job is to experiment with new ideas and to structure it into a process so that the idea ensures better efficiency at work. En-route this process I deal with people, end users and decision makers, who evaluate the proposal and critique it.

More often than not, most proposals are turned down on grounds that are not technical. No matter how convinced and clear cut the proposal is, I have realized that few people inadvertently are sceptical because of limitations, either of knowledge or finance or anything in-between, on their end.


Bottom line is that swaying a person to accept an idea is tough, especially if he or she is a skeptic. To overcome their cynicism, I have learned that I need to adjust my style.

Here are four ways to influence a non-believer: 


Co-present with a trusted source.

Skeptics are highly suspicious of any information that challenges their experience and worldviews. You can increase your chances of success by sharing the stage with someone the executive believes in.


Demonstrate endorsements.

You need as much credibility as you can garner. Ask others, top managers or working staff, who support your idea to let the executive know. 


Use Statistics, KPIs and Case-Studies.

Statistics (graphs and percentages) and key Performance Indicators are easy to digest and more comprehensible by many people. Rather than showing the full proposal, throw in an interesting Statistics, KPI or Case-Studies to get into the person’s mind space. 


Stroke egos.

Skeptics respond to flattery. Start sentences with, "You've probably seen this data already…" or “You already know this but I will repeat nevertheless so that others are in sync…” or “As understood from your idea earlier…”

If you know more ways than these then help me out… I need more ideas to convert a skeptic into a believer!

One Reply to “Ways to convince a Skeptic…”

  1. Nicely written – agree with you.
    It is an input for you for the great work you are doing by way of this pep and prep column -articles/ blog/ web as one may call.
    A few factors that has come to light, observed/ experienced, though i am not sure of the circumstances you write under or have in mind whilst you pen (tap the keys).

    5. There has to to be a win for the skeptic (personally and also to the group) in the project. You  will need to measure/ guage how he likes to hear it directly unashamed / unembarrased or in subtle way of the advantages (throwing light on the big picture) in general without embarassing him.

    6. Patience and perseverence in important for sure. Patience and trust is very important  – you need to slowly and steadily work upon this, some priming during other discussions to match frequencies and check wavelength. If not if Lambda is not inversely proportional …consider and prepare to get the mountain to Abdulla.

    7. Ego: your must be ready  to take thrashing keeeping only yr goal in mind.

    8. Show/ touch upon also the negative if any in yr project, this shows your openness, expanse of research and also what is being done to correct it and worst case scenarios worked upon. Needless to say the positive and advantages should definitely tip the balance to yr goal and desire.

    Still seem to be getting something into my head…but comp is real slow.
    Due to all the above including yr pointers,  for sure Rome was not built in a day!!!!
    Take care – keep writing.
    Wishing you all the best in yr project, yr ardent 'Reader'.

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