At some point everyone is trying to persuade someone else of something. You might be selling a product or lobbying for a raise, or even just trying to win an argument. Regardless, the harder you push the more people have a tendency to get defensive and back away.
Good persuasion is more of an art. It's a give and take allowing for people to move at their own pace with some steady nudging. There are a number of effective and inoffensive considerations and techniques that can help with pleasant persuasion. Here is my favorite take, and more insights from my Inc. colleagues.
1. Show them what they want and need.
Often, talking through a point gets lost. People have a strong inner voice that defends their point of view and blocks out words from the persuader. Circumvent that process with visuals. Charts, graphs, or even cocktail napkin sketches can get people to see things in a whole new light. Get creative. Given the time, you can even use your smartphone to create a simple and engaging persuasive video.
2. Share positives and negatives.
Sharing an opposing viewpoint or two is more persuasive than sticking solely to your argument. Very few ideas or proposals are perfect. Your audience knows that; they know there are other perspectives and potential outcomes. So meet them head on. Talk about the things they're already considering. Discuss potential negatives and show how you will mitigate or overcome those problems. People are more likely to be persuaded when they know you know that they have misgivings. So talk about the other side of the argument... and then do your best to show why you're still right. Jeff Haden--Owner's Manual
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3. Be inquisitive.
It's like the old story of the wind and the sun arguing over who could get a man's coat off. The wind blew and blew, but the man just wrapped the coat tighter. That's exactly how being pushy works. After the wind failed to blow the coat off, the sun simply shone and the man took it off by himself. The best way to influence someone is to align what you want with what they want, which means you have to start by understanding what they want. And one good way to find that out is to ask them. Minda Zetlin --The Laid Back Leader
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4. Find a good reason.
The best way to be persuasive is to be able to answer this question: What's in it for THEM? When you ask someone to do something, you've got to also give that person a reason for doing it that's in their own best interest. When you've got a good reason, then you won't have to be pushy--you'll automatically be the King (or Queen) of Persuasion. Peter Economy--The Leadership Guy
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5. Take yourself out of the equation.
The art of persuasiveness is influential to success and requires confidence. If you go in desperate, your proposal won't fly. You must first take yourself out of the equation: how and why is this decision beneficial to the other party? What about the people they care about: their team, family, or customers? Once you have these two answers covered consider what you're up against. Your idea or offer has to be better than the other options available to them. If it's not, go back to the drawing board, don't exaggerate the value, promise unrealistic deadlines, or do anything else to jeopardize your integrity and reputation. Lastly, look them in the eye, be patient with objections, and let them know that you care. Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist
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6. Be helpful.
Much is written on the topic of persuasion--when to say just the right words to close an important deal or how to move others to your way of thinking. In my experience, the true secret to being persuasive is to simply be helpful. The ultimate goal of persuasion is to have the power to influence others. Providing knowledge and connections freely makes you a go-to resource. If others seek you out to solve their problems through your network and knowledge, you are in the perfect place to persuade them and convince them that you or your company is the solution to their problem. Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward
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