Spence: Learning How to Be Credible (1)

This is the fourth chapter of Gerry Spence’s greta book “How to Argue and Win Every Time”. By now, you begin to see that Gerry’s book is not a typical “how to do it book”, full of tricks. Gerry is offering something else entirely. And in this chapter we get to the core idea.

You can only win an argument is people listen to you. They will only listen if you are credible. Great techniques mean nothing if they are not based on a credible foundation. So the trick is to stop trying to trick people. To be believed, you must be believable. To be believable, you must speak the truth – the whole truth, the way a child does.

Of course, you can fool people for a while. Advertisers do this, coaxing you into buying something. But this doesn’t work for long. It doesn’t work because we all listen for the truth. It is what opens our eyes. So we catch the smile that is out of place when someone is speaking of pain. We catch the nervous twitch. And of course, the eyes are the mirror of the soul.  We sense whether a person is looking at us in the eye. People are good at detecting falsehood.

So why are we fooled? We are fooled most often when we want to be fooled. We are fooled when we want to believe. We want to be loved. We want to trust our neighbors and our friends.  We may not be able to stop wanting these things, but we can learn to see and listen as well.

Next — can we learn how to be better at showing the truth? Stay tuned.


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