Being able to change someone’s mind about anything is an immensely valuable skill. It makes our lives easier and happier if we are able to pull it off reliably. To help us figure out how to persuade people effectively, we’ll take some tips from the experts: professional salespeople.
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Persuasion is Not a Dark Art
Just the word “persuasion” has negative connotations to some people, who assume it is a form of dishonesty. But that’s absolutely false. Sure, there is such a thing as dishonest persuasion, but we would never condone that. Instead, the type of ethical persuasion we refer to in this article is about fostering emotional connection and pointing out things the other person may not have known about to make everyone happy.
9 Tips to Persuade
Remember, these are straight from the mouths (and blogs) of sales experts, but they also apply to ordinary people’s persuasion every day.
Call Them By Name
One of the simplest ways to persuade more efficiently is to call someone by their first name. People are psychologically conditioned to respond positively to it, and 60% of persuasion is just about creating that emotional connection.
Establish Common Ground
When you establish common ground, it establishes trust and makes you come off as more sympathetic. Even a quick insert like “I understand, and I think we’re on the same page, but…” will help.
Make It Their Idea
People would much rather have an idea that you agree with than agree with your idea. Therefore, the best way to “sell” an idea is by making the other person believe it is theirs. Obviously, that’s easier said than done and requires you to meld your ideas into their needs and wants gradually. Speaking of which…
Understand What They Want
Everyone has their own wants and needs, as well as their own backstory and hobbies. Your “pitch” to them needs to be accommodating of those unique qualities.
You need to understand what it is they want and make sure your proposed solution addresses that.
Copy Their Mannerisms
Subtly copying mannerisms is another way to create common ground and a sense of relatability quickly. Try techniques like using the same phrases as them or even standing the same way as them. Don’t make it obvious you’re doing it, though, because it could be seen as patronizing.
Use Power Poses
Another good way to persuade anyone is by assuming an air of supreme confidence about your position. One of the most powerful ways to communicate that confidence is through your stance.
Keep your body posture as open as possible, avoiding crossing your arms or legs. Hold your head up high, and look the other person directly in the eye.
Power posing does not have some magical confidence-boosting power, as was once believed. It does, however, make others perceive you as more confident and knowledgeable.
Make Eye Contact
As we mentioned, you should look at the other person in the eye. Do not stare, though — body language expert Carol Kinsey Gorman says only 30-60% of a conversation should involve direct eye contact. The rest of the time should be spent looking purposefully at areas near the other person’s face.
Note that some people do not feel comfortable with eye contact. As a rule, if they are not trying to make any eye contact with you, you should respectfully not make eye contact either.
Affirm Their Opinions
To preserve the friendly vibe that is so helpful when trying to persuade someone, you should frequently affirm the other person’s stance by saying things like “Yes, and that’s a good point, but…”
Remind Them Everyone Else is Doing It
The fact is that humans like to do what other people are doing. While you might not jump off a bridge because other people are, you’ll probably check out a new local restaurant or see a new movie because it’s popular.
Even though appealing to popularity may be a logical fallacy, it works when you are trying to persuade someone.
Persuasion is a fine art, and it requires a lot of practice to perfect it. Try to master each of the tips above, and remember to use your powers for good rather than evil!
For some more scientific approaches to persuasion, as well as some nice illustrations, check out this video!