Influence: A thoughtful guide in the chaotic political and social landscape

In the complex political and social climate of today you may find it difficult to relay your position in a way that is agreeable, you might even find it difficult to find people who share your views. It seems as if so many people are either in one camp, or the other, but what if those people could be drawn out of their camps, removed from their hostilities, their animosity and brought to a table to actually address problems rather than blaming each other, or placing blame on all kinds of other factors?

The truth is, they can. You can do that. I am speaking to everyone here, every citizen who believes in something, everyone who has concerns and wants to address the problems that our society faces today. Here are ways which I have compiled to find common ground, and to find a valuable solution with almost anyone.

 1. Seek common ground, not confrontation: It's so easy to get caught up in an argument and get frustrated when you hear someone say something that you completely disagree with, but ask them what their solution is and how they would go about solving that problem, rather than immediately stating that you disagree, listen and understand their reasoning, no matter how absurd it may seem on the surface, listen to them. In some cases however, it may be better not to discuss that topic with that individual, but then again, you choose what is worth debating, just insure that the way in which you go about it is reasonable which brings me to the next point.

2. Use reason primarily, rather than passion alone: Passion often causes one to derail, many times into polemic or ad hominem attacks, you refute yourself by using too much passion, and not enough facts and reason, which immediately nullifies your argument and shows that you are out of cards to use. Not running out of cards in the first place is the best way to prevent this, if you have all of your research and facts straight, you should be able to keep a cooler head when those are challenged. Remember, when you are seeking knowledge, your passion and ideals matter, but reasoning and thinking is what creates those ideals in the first place, never keep your mind objectively closed to information which potentially conflicts with your current beliefs and thoughts. Many things apply differently in varying situations, and some, not at all. 

3. Relevance: Keeping keenly on the topic at hand is critical, by diverging from that topic, the person with whom you are conversing with may say it is completely unrelated, or may not see the relevance, which again if you have all of your cards straight, it is not a game of luck, rather it is a game of insuring that you can properly and coherently relate one issue to another. Keep to the core of the issue, and if you do tie in other things, insure that they are relevant to that core issue. 

4. Don't rely on word of mouth, do your homework: Research, find studies and not just one, insure that you have multiple reliable sources from which you draw your conclusion. Importantly, don't seek out studies that prove your preconceived notion on a topic, but rather seek out genuine numbers, stats, and charts that suggest a reality, it is very difficult to refute something commonly or popularly deemed as reality, and if you find yourself on the unpopular end, I wish you the best of luck! In all seriousness, if you do end up having the odds stacked against you, you need to evaluate the necessity of your argument. You need to ask yourself, "should this be an argument, or should it something fundamentally part of me which has no reason to justify, or be refuted." If that is the case, it would be best not to argue, by all means speak your mind, but be ready to prove your point if you find it necessary to do so. 

5. The person you are conversing with is not your enemy: To tie things all together, you have to view the other individual as your equal, belittling them or berating them will only solidify them in their ways and their current belief set. The title of this article starts with "Influence" if you want to influence someone, you can't treat them like they are inferior. The goal is to find common ground, to find a better solution, not to "win" because winning an argument and changing someones mind are not equatable. If you use your reason and passion properly and confidently, your moral goal should be to unite people and find a good solution to the problems of today, that is how you truly win. That is how we truly win.