The ability to persuade people is a necessity to be successful. Persuading is not manipulating or pressuring others. It’s describing the benefits and logic of an idea that gets people on board and in agreement. It’s the essential skill to bring people to your side, whether they’re fellow team members, employees, or potential customers.
Everyone needs the ability to convince others that their ideas make sense, to show potential investors how a project will benefit them, or to help their employees embrace a new task or process.
Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can increase your persuasiveness in an authentic and genuine way.
Choose The Right Way to Communicate
If you’re talking to someone you don’t know well, then email is often a much easier and more successful way to communicate than in person. Men, in particular, feel more competitive in person. However, for women, the opposite is true. Since most women are focused on relationships, in-person communication is more persuasive than written communication. In general, the closer your relationship to the other person, the more effective face-to-face communication will be.
Share the Positives and Negatives
When you share a few opposing viewpoints with those you’re trying to persuade, you immediately are seen as more genuine and persuasive than someone who only talks about the benefits of their position.
Your audience knows that no idea is perfect. And when you address that fact you end up building trust and help your audience feel understood since you say out loud some of the things they’re already thinking. Then, you have the opportunity to demonstrate how you plan to minimize those problems. When you understand the other person’s doubts, they’re more likely to be persuaded. Especially when they see that you’re still right even with those misgivings.
Take a Bold Stand
Reasoning and logic do not persuade. Research shows that people are persuaded more by other factors that stimulate their emotions. In fact, people generally prefer cockiness to expertise. Confidence is persuasive. And in fact, we prefer to get advice from others who are confident, even if they have a poor track record.
Whether you’re confident or not, be bold. To convince others you must be convinced yourself. Don’t qualify your language, which makes you sound weaker and more passive. If you think this is the best option – say it. And stand by your opinions. Let your enthusiasm show and use it to convince others.
Make Your Conclusions Positive
When you make a positive conclusion, rather than a negative one, you will always win out.
Consider which of these is more persuasive.
- “Stop being so serious and pessimistic”
- “You’re so much fun to work with when you’re optimistic!”
It can be tempting to use scare tactics. But when you switch to outcome statements that are positive people are more persuaded. In fact, most people respond to guilt and bullying negatively. Study after study has shown that to create change most successfully, it’s essential to focus on the positive. Help take the person to a better place instead of to a place they’d rather avoid.
Start With Small “Wins”
This concept is used in “yes” marketing. It’s the idea that when you get small agreements between people, they become more and more likely to say yes to bigger things. Instead of jumping right into the argument, start with statements you know your audience will agree with that will help you build a foundation for future agreement.
Adjust Your Rate of Speech
The “fast-talking salesman” stereotype has a reason for existing. Talking fast works in certain situations. Research says that if your audience is likely to disagree, talk faster. If they’re likely to agree, talk slower.
When you speak faster to an audience that might disagree, you don’t give them a chance to think about their objections. When your audience agrees with you, speaking slowly gives them a chance to connect their own thinking with what you’re talking about.
And what if your audience is neutral? In that case, speak faster only because you’re more likely to keep their attention if you speak quickly.
Know How Your Audience Processes Information
There are many people who need time and space to consider all of the factors involved in a decision. So asking them to decide immediately will always result in a “no” or whatever answer reflects the status quo.
It’s equally important not to ask someone to take time for thought and reflection if the that person is a quick decision-maker and is more likely to move on if they’re given time.
Use Swearing Wisely
Swearing can be persuasive and make the speaker look more trustworthy. A well placed swear word can help inspire others. But it’s important to be yourself above all else. So if swearing just isn’t you, don’t do it.
Make Sure You’re Right
Although it’s important to use all of the techniques on this list, like getting smaller agreements, sharing both the positive and negatives and making sure you’re talking to your audience in the right medium. What matters most is your message.
You need to be sure that you are right in what you’re trying to persuade others to agree to. Ultimately, when you have solid data, reasoning, and conclusions you’ll increase your own confidence and be far more persuasive. Then everything else on this list will merely be the icing on the cake.