A Sobering Thought:
Anytime you are in the presence of another human being, either that person is persuading you, or you are persuading him/her. So, do you want to be the persuaded or the persuader? In other words, who is in control? The number of advertisements the average U.S. adult is exposed to each day ranges from around 300 to over 3,000.
What is It?
“We define persuasion as a conscious symbolic act intended to form, modify, or strengthen the beliefs, opinions, values, attitudes and/or behaviors of another or ourselves.” Simply, it is the art of getting someone else to do or think what YOU want them to do or think. It involves a deliberate attempt to influence others.
What Comes to Mind?
When you think about persuasion, what comes to mind? Some people might think of advertising messages that urge viewers to buy a particular product, while others might think of a political candidate trying to sway voters to choose his or her name on the ballot box. Persuasion is a powerful force in daily life and has a major influence on society and a whole. Politics, legal decisions, mass media, news and advertising are all influenced by the power of persuasion, and influence us in turn. Negative examples are often the first to come to mind, but persuasion can also be used as a positive force. Public service campaigns that urge people to recycle or quit smoking are great examples of persuasion used to improve people’s lives.
The Key Elements:
Persuasion is no accident. There are many time tested and proven elements to effective persuasion. The major ones are as follows but not in any order of importance because that will depend on the situation encountered.
Do They Like You and Trust You?
People respond to people they like and trust. You must show them you are on their side. We like people who are similar to us, who pay us compliments, and who cooperate with us toward mutual goals. So if you want to persuade anyone, spend enough time to enter their world and sincerely understand what they want and need and provide the answer or solution. People don’t like selfish fakes, so listen and give your undivided attention to the other person.
People are inclined to give back what they receive. They feel obligated to return a favor. That is why the server gives you the mint when presenting you with the check after your meal. Believe it or not, tips increase with this small gesture.
Enthusiasm and Confidence
Do you really believe in what you are trying to sell or persuade someone to do? Enthusiasm is contagious. People make far more decisions on the basis of emotions rather than facts. So get excited! Then they will.
People follow the lead of credible knowledgeable experts. Who are you and what are your credentials? Why should they listen to you? Give them reasons.
Organize your thoughts. Do not speak too fast. Pause after important points.
Paint a vivid picture of how wonderful their life will be when they take the action you are suggesting. Give compelling evidence. Explain benefits.
Create Sense of Urgency
Why should they act NOW? People are by nature procrastinators. If they do not commit NOW, they probably will not later. There is a principle of consistency. People follow through with what they have already said or done. If you can get a small commitment up front, they are more likely to commit more to follow.
People look to actions and behavior of others to determine their own. That is why testimonials are so powerful. So collect as many as you can and share them often as needed. Who can argue with “I was there when it happened and I ought to know”?
Don’t try to persuade someone who is too tired, depressed, or uninterested.
Ron says “Everyone changes their mind with time and circumstances.” He also says “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” So wait until they are ready when the time is right.
What is in it for ME?
Isn’t that the bottom line question in everyone’s mind? Answer it and you will probably get the results you want.
Use Their Name
Use a person’s name but not too much. Use it at the beginning of the communication and at the end only. Any more and the response goes down.
Words that Persuade
One source suggests the following words have been tested and proven to effectively persuade: because, now, imagine, please, thank you, and any words that make a person feel that he/she is in control. So use your imagination as to how these fit into your next encounter to persuade someone.
Is That All?
No. There is much more to the art of persuasion, but enough now for you to leap ahead to be the persuader, not the persuaded. However, sometimes it is best to be the persuaded.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.