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Sunday, March 18, 2012

How to Persuade People

Imagine you had ability to convince people to do anything you wanted. Sounds impossible? It’s actually not that difficult. Some people, like salesmen and cult leaders, devote their lives to master the art of persuasion. When you don’t have the authority to command people, you have to use subtle psychological means to persuade them. Before starting your case, it is important to understand the nature of your audience, who they are and why they think the way they do.

These are some tips to persuade people:
·        Gain their trust – People will automatically be cautious of anyone who is trying to change their minds. Show them why you should be heard. You must know what you’re talking about, and prove that there is good reason why you think the way they do.
·     Find common ground – show your audience that your values and ideas are in harmony with their own. Again, you need to put your self in their shoes, understand their concern, and be sympathetic to their feelings.
·      Structure it well – when listing reasons why people should listen to you, save your most powerful points for last, as they will linger in their minds of your captive audience. Also, repeat your most important argument.
·      Show both sides – weigh the pros and cons of your ideas, as doing so will make you seem fair and reasonable to others. The trick here is to emphasize the pros and make light of cons.
·        Appeal to self-interest – for this to work, you’ll need to know what your audience’s needs are. Grab their attention by telling them you know what they want, then tell them how your idea will satisfy that.
·         Feed their ego – find things that your audience takes pride in, such as their intelligence or their hobbies. When you compliment people, it shows that you recognize their qualities. They will feel appreciated and more open to your words.
·       Appeal to the authority – everyone listen to experts. If an expert says something, it must be true. So use them in your talk. Find out how your idea has been approved by specialist in this area.
·      Create consensus – most people are influenced by what others are doing. You need to show that what you want is approved by a large number of people. Use examples of how your ideas are successful else where, or how others have enjoyed them.
·     Time your request well – Learn to measure the general mood and how receptive people will be to you. Avoid approaching people with requests during times of great stress, anxiety, or grief.
·         Be unique – it’s a simple law of economics: the scarcer something is, the higher its price. Make yourself or your ideas seem unique or rare.
·    Be confident – you have to believe in your ideas before you can convince others of it. If you have any nagging doubts, it will show. You are your own best supporter, so you better have faith in your cause.
·       Be interesting – you need to be unique and energized, showing that you are excited about your idea. Appeal to their senses as much as you can.
·        Be reasonable – people like to think they are reasonable, so appeal to their sense of reason. Logic is highly valued in business, and your presentation should have a logical format.
·    Be diplomatic – you must treat your audience as you want to be treated. Speak in a proper tone. Don’t yell or talk down to them. More importantly, don’t make them feel foolish from thinking differently from you.
·        Be modest – speak politely and show that you are a modest person. Although you believe your idea is better, if you give a sense of arrogance, people will stop listening. Be realistic and accept that you may be turned down.
Andrew Young, US politician, and ambassador to the UN from 1977-79, said that, “Influence is like savings account: the less you use it, the more you’ve got.” Learn how to use your powers of persuasion well and at the appropriate moments.


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