The most powerful concept in persuasion is framing. When we look at the overall, big picture we can see most everything we do and say as a frame. When I suggest examples based on religion and politics, I’m not (NOT!!) endorsing one side or another. I’m simply showing where our blind spots exist, where we have holes in our arguments. if you have a belief that you fervently or fanatically believe in, you might just be blind to the other side of the issue.
When we talk about the pro-life/pro-choice debate, the other side, no matter which side you’re on, is absolutely wrong. No ifs, ands, or buts. The other side is NEVER going to accept your point of view. It’s just not an option. There are some that are so certain that this is not a “choice” but murder. Others believe it’s not a frame at all, but an elimination of a woman’s choice to have freedom over her body. There is no in between, no gray area for either side.
I have absolutely no interest in changing your deeply held beliefs, but my goal is to simply point out that all of these beliefs, ultimately, are different frames.
The ability to reframe is to tell our truth, life the way we see it. It requires us to repeat things deeply carving neuro pathways that show us what to think in any given situation, with any given group or idea, in any setting.
Without naming names, think of the major coffee chain, the one that’s taking over the world. They’re responsible for putting little mom and pop cafes out of business. They charge A LOT. They may even be slightly overrated. AND yet, they are fair to their employees even providing part time workers with health insurance. They buy their product from sustainable coffee growers in ‘third world’ (another frame) countries. They also have a delicious organic iced decaf mocha.
It’s possible all of these statements are true at once. Maybe it doesn’t matter a lick to you either way. But they are beliefs and as a result, they are frames.
You can do this with everything. Try health care providers, for example. They are ‘miracle workers’, they’re caring, nurturing, overpaid, shills for big pharmaceutical and insurance companies.
Your beliefs may include none of these descriptions. At the very least, you can see that each statement is a frame. We’ve all had good and bad experiences with health care providers and these experiences necessarily color the way you view the profession. If your first memory was of being ill and having to be hospitalized, then that would have an enormous imprint on a fear of hospitals. At the same time, the procedure may have saved your life. This might not help adjust your frame because the negative experience of illness and pain, would be overshadowed by the positive experience of being alive. Only through multiple positive experiences would that change the neuro pathways that make you fear health care providers/hospitals.
It is my hope that in repeating the importance of frames, some of you may begin to view the whole world as a series of frames.