Learning how to be persuasive isn't as difficult as you might think. With a few simple persuasive techniques, you too can master the art of persuasion.
Persuasive techniques. Whether we're aware of it or not, no doubt, we have all witnessed it. For instance, it may have been that a person enters a room, or a speaker walks on stage—and even if what this person says goes firmly against what we usually hold to be true, they have us totally captivated, intrigued, and zoned in on them. By their words, their actions, and their energy.
In the moment, it's as if they have us spellbound influencing us to behave, react, and respond in a certain way. No matter where you look, there are people like this everywhere. Every day, persuasive techniques are tried against us—whether we realize it or not. Politicians, for instance, persuade us to vote. Teachers persuade us to think outside the box. Parents persuade us to be more responsible.
But, have you ever wondered how some people are more persuasive and more convincing than others? The answer is; there are elements of psychology being used which can differ depending on the type of persuasive technique.
Fortunately, by putting to use a few persuasive techniques, which we'll walk you through here, you too can learn how to use persuasion to help you exert a greater influence on the people around you.
What is Persuasion?The dictionary defines persuasion as:
"The act of causing people to do or believe something."It's understandable, by definition, how persuasion can be perceived as a negative thing. In fact, some people confuse persuasion to be the same thing as manipulation. But, it's not at all. What's the difference between the two?
Manipulation involves coercion or force. Where, as the famous storyteller Aesop put it, “Persuasion is often more effectual than force.”
The very act of persuasion is more of an art form. Think of it as the process of using honey to catch flies rather than using vinegar.
Instead of using manipulative techniques, a persuasive person, as Jason Nazar points out in his article; '21 Principles of Persuasion' published on Forbes, will use techniques that will convince another to do something that is in the best interests of everyone involved.
Why is Persuasion Difficult?At some point or another, everyone will need to persuade, convince, sell his or her opinion or idea whether it be at work, at school, and in our relationships with others—and it's not easy.
As Denise Cummins Ph.D. states in her article 'How to Get People to Change Their Minds', when being persuaded to think or view something in a particular way, "people are likely to examine relevant evidence in a biased manner, accepting evidence that is consistent with their views without further scrutiny while subjecting evidence that contradicts their views to intense scrutiny"
As difficult as it may sound, however, everyone, including you, is capable of being persuasive. The problem is that most people tend to go about it the wrong way.
"Quite often, when people attempt to persuade, they tend to move in the direction of manipulation whether they intend to or not."Strong, dominant words like "best" or "worst" are used. People’s natural belief systems are challenged. Something is requested, but nothing is offered back in return. Unsurprisingly, as a result, these brute force tactics simply do not work.
Used correctly, however, persuasion is a useful life skill to help us get what we want when we want it. So why isn’t everyone using persuasion?
Tricks for Effective PersuasionWhat's the key to being persuasive? It's to not talk about you or what you want. Instead, it's about appealing to whom you're speaking to and their ulterior motives.
Let's be honest, people are mainly interested in themselves. Therefore, it's no coincidence that the foremost psychological approach behind persuasion is demonstrating a sincere interest in others.
How can you figure out what someone else’s interests are? You listen. As thoughtfully suggested by Deepak Chopra, in his article
As thoughtfully suggested by Deepak Chopra, in his article 'Five Ways to Change Someone Else's Mind', you need to understand the other person’s beliefs, motives, and needs in order to align yourself with them.
Be aware, however, to not allow the aligning process to change your own beliefs or motives. Because to persuade another, you need to present your case in a way that aligns with the other person’s interests and values. If you can do this effectively, you'll keep them listening.
The next step is to demonstrate how what you're proposing will meet a particular need of your (now thoroughly engrossed) listener.
It's no secret that people's values and beliefs are often very rigid, so it's important to not try to get them to believe what you believe.
Instead, accept and acknowledge their beliefs, and, as you do, they'll lower their guard and become more open to what you have to say.
How Can You Be Persuasive?Put it into practice. Let's say, for example, you want to persuade your parents to extend your curfew by an hour. The first step is understanding their belief system.
Perhaps, as part of their beliefs, they are concerned about you being in potentially dangerous areas of town after a certain hour. They, therefore, have a belief that if you are home by a certain time, you will be safe.
Based on this belief you have no choice but to accept this as their belief. But, you can express an understanding of their concerns and appeal to their interests.
For instance, you might say, “I know you're both worried about me staying out late on weekends and you have good reason to be. I’ve heard of all kinds of terrible stories.”
Next, it’s time to align your interests with theirs. “Is it possible for me to stay out an hour longer tonight if I only stay in [these] areas? I'll always let you know where I am and if I don’t hold up my end of the deal, my curfew can go back to an earlier time. What do you think? Can we give it a shot? I won't let you down."
See also: Pomodoro Technique vs Flow: 2 Unfair Productivity Hacks.
It's a Matter of PracticeDo you see how some simple yet effective psychological persuasive tactics can be? Practice using these techniques and you'll be far more likely to achieve success rather than taking the doomed-to-fail approach of nagging, guilt-tripping, and manipulation.
Remember, the psychology of persuasion rests in getting others to do what you want by understanding them. Listen to what others believe in. Refrain from trying to change their beliefs, and offer something in return so that everyone can benefit. Even if it's something as simple as your parents seeing how responsible you can be!