Persuading the Unpersuadable: Offering Unexpected Twists

"Explore unique strategies and surprising techniques to persuade the most stubborn minds in this intriguing guide."


It’s a common occurrence in life to meet people who present a strong resistance to change. They seem impervious to our logical reasoning, sound arguments, and convincing facts. These individuals are what we refer to as “the unpersuadable.”

A term often used in social psychology, “the unpersuadable”, refers to individuals or groups who are so firmly established in their beliefs or views that it is almost impossible to convince them to change their minds. It could be a result of deep-rooted beliefs, cultural norms, or simply a stubborn defiance against any type of persuasion attempts.

The concept of “the unpersuadable” might lead us to wonder about the essence and effectiveness of persuasion. Is it even worth trying to persuade such individuals? If so, are the traditional methods of persuasion the best technique to employ, or should we be exploring alternative methods that contain a touch of the unexpected?

This blog post will delve into greater detail about the idea of “the unpersuadable”, dissect the power of persuasion, introduce the concept of surprising persuasion techniques and discuss unique strategies to effectively convince such individuals. We will also collaborate different case studies and best practices to illustrate how these techniques can be put to maximum effect.

By exploring these themes, we hope to provide insights to anyone who grapples with the challenge of changing deep-seated beliefs or persuading those who seem obstinately resistant. Replete with a careful examination of the subject, practical advice, and inspiring examples, this guide will help you to understand and perhaps even harness the power of persuasion. So, let’s embark on this intriguing journey together!

In the following sections, we will:

  1. Delve into the concept of “the unpersuadable” and their distinct characteristics.
  2. Explore the realm of persuasion and its limitations.
  3. Discover the element of surprise in persuasion.
  4. Discuss unique strategies to persuade “the unpersuadable” and practical ways to implement them.
  5. Review actual case studies and best practices.

We should not view “the unpersuadable” as obstacles, but rather as opportunities for us to innovate. By applying novel strategies to convince them, we might discover newer methods of persuasion that were previously untapped. And, in doing so, we would not just be changing their minds, but we would also be changing the way we see the world! Now, let’s dive in!

Part I: A Closer Look at “the Unpersuadable”

“The Unpersuadable” may seem like an invincible opponent in a debate or discussion, often shutting down any attempt at changing their mind. But, who are they? Let’s take a closer look.

Defining “The Unpersuadable”

The unpersuadable are individuals who staunchly hold onto their beliefs, opinions, or perspectives, often dismissing any opposing argument or evidence. This characteristic is not always a negative trait as they can be individuals who have a firm grasp on their values and principles. However, it can become problematic when their fixed mindset hinders open dialogue, understanding, and growth.

“Unpersuadables aren’t simply stubborn. They are often complex individuals with a deep-seated attachment to their beliefs, which may have an emotional component that overrides logical thought.”

Key Characteristics of “The Unpersuadable”

To more effectively engage with the unpersuadable, it’s important to recognize some of their common characteristics. They often exhibit:

  • Intransigence: Unpersuadables are often incredibly resolute in their views and can be resistant to change.
  • Dismissive attitude: They tend to disregard evidences or arguments that contradict their perspectives.
  • Confirmation bias: There’s a tendency to selectively gather, interpret, or remember information in a way that confirms their existing beliefs.

The Trouble with Persuading “The Unpersuadable”

The challenge with persuading the unpersuadable is rooted in the deep-seated nature of their beliefs. This can make conversations feel like a stalemate, leaving the other party feeling frustrated and unheard.

However, it’s essential to remember this:

“Persuading the unpersuadable is never about ‘winning’. It’s about understanding, empathy and fostering a dialogue that can lead to common ground.”

As we dive into the world of persuasion, we will explore some unexpected, innovative methods that can be used to persuade even the staunchest of the unpersuadables.

Part II: Understanding the Power of Persuasion

Communication is the cornerstone of human interaction, and within that cornerstone, persuasion holds a prominent place. The ability to convince others to see things from your perspective, agree with you, or even act in a way that furthers your goal is a skill that has been highly sought after throughout history.

The Role of Persuasion in Communication

Persuasion is a key component of communication. Whether it’s a CEO trying to convince investors about a new business strategy, a politician trying to rally support for a new policy, or a parent trying to get their child to eat vegetables - persuasion is at play. It is an art form, one that requires a deep understanding of human behavior and psychology.

"No matter what role you play in society, being able to persuade others is a powerful tool."

Traditional Convincing Strategies and Their Limitations

While there is a plethora of persuasion strategies, traditional ones often involve logical arguments backed by evidence or emotional appeals to capture hearts. They might be making someone feel guilty for not acting, instilling fear of what might happen if they don’t take action, or even promising something in return.

However, these strategies have their limitations. Most importantly, they are predictable. The human mind has grown accustomed to these tactics, and as a result, their effectiveness diminishes over time. In addition, they often fail to tackle those who are deeply entrenched in their beliefs or positions - a group we refer to as “the unpersuadable”.

The Shift to Innovation: Introducing Unexpected Twists in Persuasion

Given the evolving complexity of human interaction and the increasing sophistication of audiences, novel and innovative persuasion strategies have become more necessary than ever. Key to these strategies is the element of surprise.

In the world of persuasion, predictable is forgettable. To make a lasting impact, you need to catch people off guard, engaging their curiosity and breaking through the shield of indifference or resistance.

Introducing unexpected twists into your persuasion strategies not only attracts attention but also boosts receptivity, increasing the chances for successful persuasion. However, doing this well requires creativity, foresight, and an understanding of the nuance of human behavior.

In the subsequent sections, we’ll delve into the surprising power of the unexpected and how it can be harnessed to turn the unpersuadable into the persuaded.

Part III: Offering the Unexpected

In the world of persuasion, a surprising element can steer allocation of attention. This unexpected twist makes the audience pay attention, thereby increasing the likelihood of them receiving the message.

The Importance of Surprises in Persuasion

In psychology research, it has been demonstrated that when something unexpected happens, our brains are naturally inclined to pay more attention. We are driven by curiosity and the desire to understand, and these surprises feed right into that instinct. Unexpected elements or surprises force us to think, to make connections, and ultimately, help us remember and comprehend better.

“The element of surprise captures attention, maintains interest, and stimulates curiosity.”

This quote sums up the potential power of surprising elements in persuasion. By leveraging this tool, you penetrate the barrier of indifference, create a positive impression, and most importantly, make the audience comprehend and remember your message better.

Real-Life Examples of Surprising Persuasion Techniques

To illustrate the power of surprises, let’s consider a couple of real-life examples:

  • The Armstrong Flooring Campaign: This company launched a marketing campaign that captured attention by surprise. They used a unique banner ad that declared, “This is an advertisement.” In the world where people are used to evasive, subliminal advertising, a direct declaration like that is unexpected and honestly, refreshing.

  • Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches”: This globally acclaimed campaign featured a forensic sketch artist who drew women according to their self-description and then according to a stranger’s description. The result surprised viewers by showing how women unknowingly belittle their own beauty. Unconventional and surprising, this campaign broke stereotypes surrounding beauty ads and prompted discussions about beauty standards.

These surprising scenarios are what feeds our intrigue, and ultimately makes persuasive messages stick.

How to Brainstorm Unexpected Persuasive Strategies

Brainstorming unexpected persuasive strategies involves several steps:

  1. Identifying the Expectations: The first step is to understand what the audience expects in a given context. Once you know that, you can plan an impactful deviation.

  2. Generating Ideas: Leverage techniques like lateral thinking, or brainstorming with a diverse team to generate fresh and unexpected ideas.

  3. Evaluate: Introduce feasibility checks and subsequent refinements, to make sure your ‘surprise’ serves its purpose and doesn’t backfire.

  4. Iterate and Refine: Finally, keep refining your idea based on feedback and results.

Remember, the element of surprise is a powerful tool in persuasion. It’s like that secret ingredient in a recipe that turns the ordinary into extraordinary. But as with any tool, its effectiveness largely depends on the efficacy of how you wield it.

Part IV: Unique Techniques to Persuade the Unpersuadable

After exploring the concept of the “unpersuadable” and understanding the role of surprising elements in persuasion, let’s delve into the specific techniques that can be used effectively to persuade even the most stubborn skeptics.

Technique 1: Counterintuitive Framing

The traditional way to convince someone is to agree with their argument and then try to sway them. But what if we started by presenting an argument that’s completely opposite? This is counterintuitive framing, and it works by shocking the audience into attention. This method elicits curiosity and opens a doorway for further conversation.

For instance, if someone firmly believes in not investing in the stock market because it’s too risky, you might start your conversation with: “You’re absolutely right. The stock market is risky and you could potentially lose all your money.”. This may push them to probe further and initiate an open discourse where you can subtly introduce the benefits of measured risks in stocks investment or diversification strategies.

Technique 2: Utilizing Elements of Surprise

Incorporating surprising facts, figures, or statements can make your argument stand out and keep your audience engaged. Unexpected statements evoke curiosity and compel the listener to hear more.

For instance, imagine you’re persuading a group about the necessity of clean energy. Instead of starting with the common statement about earth’s depleting resources, you could start with a surprising fact like “Did you know that renewable energy is actually cheaper to produce than traditional energy in many parts of the world?”. This unexpected twist could pique people’s interest and make them more open to the ensuing discussion.

Technique 3: Fostering Personal Connections

Often, the reason people remain “unpersuadable” is because they feel threatened or misunderstood. Building a personal connection can alleviate these feelings and increase a person’s receptiveness to your ideas.

To do this, you need to empathize with their concerns, show genuine respect for their opinions, and highlight shared values or experiences. You could share personal stories that illustrate your point and connect emotionally with your audience. When people feel connected and understood, they’re more likely to be open to different perspectives.

In sum, persuading the “unpersuadable” involves intellectual and emotional strategies grounded in an understanding of human psychology. Start with an understanding of your audience, bring surprising elements into your argument, and focus on building genuine connections. This innovative approach to persuasion might just prove to be your secret weapon.

Part V: Putting Techniques into Action

With a solid understanding of unique persuasion techniques, it’s time to explore how they can be applied in real-life scenarios. Highlighted in this section are case studies that beautifully demonstrate the impact of these techniques, as well as some best practices you can use to put these methods into action.

Case Study 1: The Successful Surprise

In one instance, a non-profit organization used an unconventional approach to gain stakeholders’ support for a charitable cause. Instead of relying on the age-old methods of emotional narratives or statistical infographics, they decided to apply the element of surprise. The presentation started with members introducing themselves as beneficiaries of the charity, who have gone on to make significant social impact. Here, the usage of an unexpected twist, positively surprised stakeholders who expected statistic-heavy presentations. This led to an increase in pledges after the presentation.

“Don’t underestimate the power of surprise. It shifts perspectives, keeps attention, and creates lasting impressions.”

Case Study 2: Winning with Counterintuitive Framing

A popular food franchise made use of the counterintuitive framing technique to turn around its decreasing sales. Instead of launching campaigns emphasising their menu items’ taste or affordability, they chose an opposite route. They began promoting their commitment to responsible sourcing, high-quality ingredients, and environmental sustainability. This counterintuitive approach pleasantly shocked customers and improved brand perception and, consequently, the sales.

Case Study 3: Forging Personal Connections for a Political Campaign

A local candidate in a political election saw success by fostering personal connections. Usually, voters are overwhelmed with promises, policy details, and impersonal campaign language. However, this candidate chose to share personal stories and connected with voters on a human level. He held informal community gatherings, answered constituents’ concerns personally, and shared his life experiences. This strategy created a sense of trust and authenticity that traditional campaign tactics failed to ignite.

Best Practices for Implementing Persuasion Techniques

Now that you’ve seen the power of these techniques, let’s discuss some best practices that can aid you in implementing them effectively.

  1. Understand Your Audience: Before applying any technique, take time to understand who your audience is, their preferences, what they expect, and what can surprise them.

  2. Be Genuine: Regardless of the technique used, genuineness is paramount. When audiences detect authenticity, they are more likely to invest their attention or trust.

  3. Test and Learn: Be open to try different approaches, evaluate their effectiveness, learn what didn’t work, and continually improve your strategy.

  4. Be Patient: Persuasion is not a one-off event; it’s a process. Don’t get frustrated if the results are not instantaneous. Change takes time.

In the realm of persuasion, these innovative techniques can open a new world of possibilities. As with any new approach, you’ll continue to grow and learn as you apply these practices. The future of persuasion is changing, and these techniques are leading the way.


In this guide, we have explored some vital concepts and principles. We began by examining the ‘unpersuadable’ - the seemingly impenetrable individuals resistant to even the most sincere and strategic attempts at persuasion. We also defined the key attributes of these individuals and discussed why they can often be so challenging to convince.

The 'unpersuadable' is not merely an immovable object. It is a dynamic and complex human being who requires a fresh and innovative approach to persuasion.

Moving further, we delved into the art of persuasion itself. We retraced the traditional convincing strategies and their limitations. We also underscored the growing need in our rapidly evolving society for a shift, for an introduction of unexpected twists in persuasion.

Likewise, we have discovered the powerful role of ‘unexpected elements’ in the art of persuasion. As humans, we were naturally attracted and intrigued by the element of surprise - a tool that can be leveraged to change the minds of even the most unpersuadable individuals.

Real-life examples were provided to buttress this point, showing how out-of-the-box persuasion strategies have defeated resistance in various scenarios. Also, techniques for brainstorming unique persuasive strategies were highlighted.

The power of unexpected persuasion lies not just in its novelty, but in its ability to engage, surprise, and ultimately, change minds.

Particular attention was given to three specific techniques designed for persuading the unpersuadable. Counterintuitive framing, the use of elements of surprise, and fostering personal connections have been identified as potentially effective ways of breaking down resistance and opening minds to new ideas and perspectives.

Subsequently, we discussed how these techniques were put into action, using case studies to demonstrate the successful application of these principles. Best practices for executing these techniques were also provided, aimed at enhancing the persuasive power of your communication.

This exploration of persuasion and the unpersuadable has broad implications for a variety of fields, including psychology, business, politics, and individual interpersonal relationships. As we move into the future, the power of persuasion will only continue to grow in importance, particularly as we strive to navigate the complexities of a diverse, interconnected world.

"The person most resistant to persuasion is often the one most in need of a fresh perspective."

Looking ahead, the future of persuasion lies in its ability to adapt, innovate and surprise. To be an effective persuader, you will need to stay flexible and open-minded, constantly ready to consider new tactics and strategies in your mission to influence, inspire, and potentially change the minds of the so-called ‘unpersuadable’.

In conclusion, throughout this exploration, one point has remained clear: the art of persuasion is not a one-size-fits-all science. It requires creativity, adaptability, and a deep understanding of human nature. Persuading the unpersuadable is no easy task, but with innovative techniques and the courage to try unexpected approaches, the impossible might become possible after all.