LPT: Learn how to convince people by asking questions, not by contradicting or arguing with what they say. You will have much more success and seem much more pleasant.

LPT: Learn how to convince people by asking questions, not by contradicting or arguing with what they say. You will have much more success and seem much more pleasant.

Edit: want to highlight my encouragement to learn this as an extra tool for persuasiveness. Not the only tool, nor one that works in every situation, especially if used poorly. Just as sure as you can hammer a nail with a wrench, you can ask a question that is argumentative and contradicting.

On a side note, this is my first post on Reddit and I am humbled by the number of up-votes. Thanks!

Seems to me there was a Greek philosopher who developed this technique a long time ago. He called it the Socratic method. I can't remember his name though.

Boaty McBoatface.

The fate Socrates suffered as the result of his questions should also be pointed out.

but he apologized!

Works sometimes. Doesn't this method rely on the other person being willing to answer questions and ask reasonable ones in return? Doesnt it also assume that the person to whom the question is posed will not respond with a loaded question?

Pretty much it's about guiding them to the answer. It's the difference in showing someone how to fix a bike, and walking them through fixing their bike. They'll be more interested, and will come out with a better understanding. If you know they're wrong, don't tell them they're wrong; ask questions that will make them rethink their point and realize they're wrong.

Now, I have no fucking idea how to learn this. I just know that's how to do it, so if you can keep that in mind maybe you can get your own way of doing it.

Socraty McScrotyface.

and how does one learn this

I thought not. It's not a story the Sophists would tell you. It's a Greek legend.

Did you ever hear the tragedy of Socrates the Wise?

Also depends on the patience of the person bring asked and the wording of the questions you ask. Come off as an asshole who just wants to make other people question their own beliefs without putting theirs for judgment and you might get punched in the face.

I'm not offended by your post, there's no reason to be, and I'm not trying to attack it, but it's so relevant to personal experience I want to reply. Sometimes it bugs me when people do this in certain situations. It's so clear that they're doing it, and the people who do it are usually so convinced they have the right answers and so unaware that their motives are transparent. It can come across as fake. Not that it can't be useful in certain contexts, when people who know what they're talking about use this method. But the experiences I've had as the receiver of "questions" meant to guide my thoughts felt like barely disguised manipulation. I respect someone who can talk about their opinion with me rather than someone who's trying to guide me into agreeing with them. I mean, if they decided they needed to guide me into agreeing with them, that means they already assumed they know enough about my opinion to try to change it, but they've been too busy asking "questions" to listen to any answers besides what they expect or want to hear.

That was hilarious. So much attitude.

And is also basically what Socrates did. "Apology" at the time simply meant defending oneself against the charges, not saying sorry for what you did, and Socrates ripped them a new one. Even when they asked him to suggest an alternative punishment (which very likely would have been the punishment given to him had he offered a serious alternative), he said that they could all pay to feed him for the rest of his life.

I was at a job fair at a college looking for candidates for a sales position. I asked some students passing by what they were looking for, and some said a management position (similar to me after college, thinking management jobs are just handed out to any graduate).

I asked what they wanted to manage. They didn't get specific I asked what their previous management experience was.. none I asked what can they can show an employer that would make the employer comfortable putting them in charge of an important team. They fumbled with their answer.

I sympathized how I tried getting straight into management right after college, but had a tough time until I got quality experience. I explained how I read that most managers come from a sales background, which is why I chose that career path.

I asked if they thought my choice made sense as a way to get into management.

They agreed and applied.

Probably would have been a bit different if I just said "you don't have experience for management, but I have sales positions."

I think it all comes down to saving face


He actually suggested a fine of 5 copper pieces. That was what he thought his crime was worth.

Socrates was a philosopher of the Greeks who had such a knowledge of ethics he could even influence his pupils to create works

The Socratic method.

Ha! Triangles?? What a pythaggot..

Scrotum McScrotumFace

Nah man, he invented the triangle.

I do this all the time when arguing/debating. I consider it a method to lead them to proving themselves wrong. Perhaps it's like forced empathy?

I think you might be thinking of Oedipus.

You are catching on quickly. Do know where the "?" symbol is on your keyboard?

It's a pretty goddamned annoying way of communicating so be prepared for blow-back if you end up using it too much. At some point or another a person engaged in a 1 on 1 debate/conversation/discussion/argument will want something from you other than questions directed at them.

I think the more important lesson to be learned if you're "trying to convince somebody" is to not be overt about it. It's easy to put people on the defensive and that's almost never constructive.

Albert Einstein

Not from a jedi

Thank you for bringing this site into my life


This only works on educated people or people that don't have a strongly biased opinion on the subject.

It's hard to accept that sometimes someone does know more than you, to the point where they recognize all the faulty reasoning and conclusions you've made, and how to correct it. The problem is usually that the correction comes unsolicited.

thank you for making me laugh my ass off.

The real motherfucker!

That motherfucker?

Edit: He's not the motherfucker i was thinking of.


I had a friend with really dry and flaky hand skin in the winter.

I asked if he'd tried lotions and he said he thinks the skin adapts to the lotion and then you just have to keep using more.

So I asked and hows that theory working out for you?

Informative yet stingily sarcastic is what I strive for.

Works even better if you are genuinely interested in their opinion and consider changing your own based on their answer. No one likes to be asked a string of loaded questions with the goal of a gotcha moment.


I envy you,. You can still read it for the first time.

It's this comment that reminds me to laugh at silly things and stop trying to be an adult.

Don't try to convince people. It's far more effective to negotiate.

Read "Never Split the Difference" by Chris Voss. Easy read, I did it in 2 days in my spare time. Valuable life skills

Why would the one asking the question be responsible for how the one being asked perceives the question? Isn't punching someone in the face for asking a question more of an indicator that the person doing the punching is an asshole rather than the one asking the question(s)?

Oh yeah, I think I remember him. Wasn't he a firefighter during 9/11?

So you're a professional manipulator, great stuff

Who is socrates?

Do you know that you are wrong and why?

That's awesome. I love how they explain the joke if you didn't get it!!


Asking leading questions is so fucking pretentious. Just say what you're thinking and lay out your position logically, don't waste my time with a game of Twenty Leading Questions. Get to the fucking point already.

The Original Parentfucker. OP, for short.

As soon as someone enters question based selling, or as I call it, not listening and trying to manipulate my informed opinion, I walk away or hang up.

By Michael Scott.

If someone shows me evidence that I'm wrong, I will consider it, and if the evidence that I'm wrong seems to outweigh indications that I might be right I will consider changing my mind. I don't need "tricks;" they backfire because I can see through the tricks. I'm annoyed when the questioner is someone who really doesn't know my beliefs but is convinced they do, and then tries to change these beliefs I don't have, or when someone is straight up wrong, but so convinced they're right and trying to open my mind. Someone can tell me his opinions, I love debate, but he can't expect to guide me into thinking the earth was created a few thousand years ago or the Egyptians weren't smart enough to make pyramids without help from aliens, y'know? Not without evidence. And don't try to convince me that I shouldn't believe lions fly, because I already don't, and persistent questions will not change the fact that I don't believe lions fly anyway. If someone wants to talk to me about something complex that they're interested in, or something they specialize in, I welcome having a real discussion especially if there's room to learn.

I think it works in a proper discussion if you've probed the other person's argument enough that you can make them come to a realisation with one well thought out question of the form "If X is the case, what do you think happens when Y" or similar.

If you use it regularly in one discussion, or to someone who's not really that interested in having the discussion (even if it's just that they don't really have time), you'll most likely come off as a smart-ass who thinks they're way cleverer than the other person.

You've done good work here.

It also depends how you apply it, I had a person apply it to a small mistake of mine and he just kept asking which made me feel really bad and dislike the person.

I only use that when I'm discussing ants with sickles.

How is that manipulation?

Nah I think his name was Billy.

Ye that was it, morons

do you really think this will work with people who are pridefully ignorant?

There are some great books, usually read by salespeople. My favorites are Question Based Selling, and SPIN selling.

Beyond this, it's just practice and embracing a genuine curiosity towards what people believe and why.

Yeah, it can be kinda condescending when applied wrong.

Is it possible to learn this knowledge?

Why do you ask?

Well, since "The Socratic method" takes the name from the person who developed it, the man in question is obviously renonwed philosopher Method Man.

It's also very easy to suck at the Socratic method so it turns into a "Tell me what I'm thinking" type question. It works best for logic problems, and worst for empiric data. For the latter it's typically better to explain how the data was collected and what it showed rather than make someone guess.

This is awesome.

I'll point out, though, that the greek word that apology comes from more accurately means "defense" than something like saying sorry.

Yes, and when not done with subtlety the Socratic method can come across as patronizing.

I don't think you can negotiate true/false discussions...

Tell you what, let's agree that what I said was true, and in return I'll stop telling people what you said was false.

That Albert Einstein's name?

This method is named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates and is introduced by him in Plato's Theaetetus as midwifery (maieutics) because it is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs, or to help them further their understanding.


Because reddit just confused the fuck out of me

John cena!

Well said socrates

When you can tell somebody is doing it to you it's kinda annoying.

I'm not sure what QBS is, but if a salesperson is asking you questions in order to figure out your needs, so they can match you with a product with their knowledge of their merchandise...what's wrong with that?

Yep, pretty much the case for almost all of these social tips.

Scroty MacBoogerballs.

...No. The dude at Best Buy trying to sell you a shitty warranty and overpriced HDMI cable might be in "sales", but "Sales" isn't restricted to peddling consumer goods to people who don't need them. You do realize that everything around you was bought and sold by salespeople at nearly every stage of its existence, right?

Its treason then.

His name was Isosceles. His philosophical approach of convincing people of his point of view consisted of a three sided approach; to see the opposite and adjacent aspects of another's ideas and, most importantly, all the while avoid coming off as a hypotenuse.

Not yet

I am Socrates

Show me on the doll where the joke hurt you.

It's annoying as shit tbh.

is that really the best question you could have asked?

It works barely in these days. Generally people read whatever and then are convinced they are armed with the truth. They don't question what they read. They don't question the motives around whatever. They just assume assume assume.

You can ask 1000 questions and they will literally come up with an answer on the spot that warps the answer to confirm what they read.

The LPT is: Listen to who you are talking to so that you start to understand what they're really trying to tell you. And then decide whether its worth your time to change their minds or not.

That's what he was meant to be called, it's actually David Attenborough

Wasn't that guy also a volunteer actor?

People don't like being told they're wrong, they'd much rather figure it out themselves. Just keep this in mind and you'll be golden.

Instead of saying: 'you should do this instead..', say 'wouldn't your way cause problems with..' or say 'wouldn't it be better to do __ because..'.

Also not exactly the same but similar, there is a technique in CBT and psychotherapy called open questioning that is used to get people to explore their emotions by simply asking open questions. It's a very useful skill for anyone to have and something I use almost daily.

(I see what you did here) the way I usually do this though is by framing it in a way where I want to agree with the other person, but genuinely can't because of this one question I don't know how to answer. As an albeit dumb example- I want to believe trump is doing a great job as president, but I don't get why 60% of the country, including people who voted for him don't think so? What does it take to be a great president? And what do these people think he's doing that excludes him from that group thus far?

This prompts a conversation about what I think is the root of our disagreement- what makes a good president. If we can agree on that we can agree on whether trump makes the list easily, and I genuinely want to know what the other person thinks makes a good president, whereas I don't necessarily want to hear how wrong the media is about trump

checkmate atheists!

I have a very similar opinion when it comes to those "tricks". One problem, which I know from experience, is that there are people who just don't want to argue. It can go as far as those people see it as offense when you argue woth them. It's hard to tell if someone is rather like this or like that.

These things steer me away from potential employers. Someone who is able to differentiate between managing and leading? Previous business, personnel, and information management? What are the varying levels of importance in the structure of your organization? These are typical questions to your questions. Similar answer-questions have landed me the job. I've pulled crap straight from organizational leadership textbooks and interviewers love it. I can't believe our entire economy doesn't collapse with how many unnecessary markets function every day with employees going through the motions just to get/keep their job.

I ask questions, but my delivery is all wrong because people get angry and say I'm "twisting their words" and "why can't you just listen"... I am listening, that's why I had the question, I'm not going to blindly agree to make you happy.

And Dwight Schrute.


The Socratic method is a teaching method, not necessarily intended as a means of persuasion. I think OP is talking about something slightly different.