How would you like to TURBOCHARGE your powers of persuasion?
Just think of what you could do and get with waaay more persuasive powers.
(Hey you, keep it clean! We’re not going into THAT here.)
Let’s dig right into my three-step process:
Step #1. Understand your “audience,” the people (or person) you want to persuade.
What are their needs, dreams, wishes, desires, headaches, hurts, concerns and fears? What makes them tick? What turns them off? Where do you audience’s emotions run big and deep?
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Do research. Ask questions. Get information. What do they want?
Understanding your audience is the essential first step, which is followed by…
Step #2. Put the people (or person) you want to persuade in a good mood.
This insight hails from Aristotle, one of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of all time. (Besides you, that is!)
“Our judgments when we are pleased and friendly are not the same as when we are pained and hostile,” wrote Aristotle.
No kidding. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?
But even smart people can lose sight of this.
Take the case of Amanda. Amanda is incredibly bright, talented, hard working. She is driven to deliver excellent results for her employer and its customers.
The problem is, Amanda gets completely aggravated when her colleagues, well-intended though they may be, deliver what she sees as subpar work.
Amanda sees the errors, the waste, the damage. She steps in, takes control and turns the project back on course. But in doing so, Amanda stomps on toes of her colleagues.
Naturally, Amanda’s colleagues are <ahem> p*ssed off.
Aristotle would say her colleagues feel “pained and hostile.” And when they feel pained and hostile, Amanda’s going to have a rough time trying to persuade them to cooperate with her. She may be able to force them, but her colleagues will resent her for it.
This is a classic mistake.
Amanda is trying so hard to do her best work for her employer, to do what she sees as right, that she’s lost sight of the needs of her colleagues, the very people she needs to persuade.
How much better this could be for everyone if Amanda had started with an understanding of her colleagues needs’, then used genuine friendliness and warmth to put her colleagues in a pleased and friendly mood.
When people feel pleased and friendly, they are far more receptive to what you want to say.
This leads us to…
Step #3: Make sure that everything you say or do serves the needs of the people (or person) you want to persuade.
Did you get that?
Not your needs.
Not your company’s.
Not your client’s.
You speak to the needs of your audience.
This part can be tricky. You have your agenda. They have theirs. You want to persuade them to your point of view or to take certain action. How do you do it?
It’s simple. Because you understand your audience and what they need, want, desire and fear, you convey what you want them to do in terms of what’s in it for them. How it benefits them.
Let’s put it all together. Amanda wants to see projects done well. Her agenda is to persuade her colleagues to seek her out before starting projects, so she can use her expertise to ensure the projects get done right.
Amanda takes time to get to know her colleagues. She starts to build friendly, pleasant relationships with them. She finds out what her colleagues need and want, what makes them tick.
One colleague would like to make a presentation at an industry event. Amanda says to her colleague, “If you collaborate with me, I can help you create a compelling speaker proposal and a powerful presentation.”
With a different colleague, the benefit of collaborating with Amanda might be to double the number sales leads generated, cut project costs, or retain more customers. It depends.
In these examples, Amanda’s telling her audience what’s in it for them. She’s persuading them by focusing on what they want, instead of irritating and angering them by pointing out their errors and mistakes, then taking control.
The beauty of this method is that Amanda can get what she wants AND her colleagues get what they want. Plus, in this case, their employer and other stakeholders benefit, too.
Sounds good, doesn’t it!
So try these three steps and turbocharge your powers of persuasion. Just remember that line from Spiderman: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Use your persuasive superpowers responsibly!
What are your favorite persuasive techniques? Leave a comment, please! I want to hear from you.
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