By Goke Ilesanmi
Last week, we said persuasion can be variedly defined. We stressed that being able to successfully persuade others to align with your view(s) is a skill that can be developed through training and practice. We said experience shows that many people approach persuasion in a way that makes it difficult for them to achieve success.
We said ability to communicate persuasively is a skill that can be used in all aspects of our personal or business life. We added that the difference between an impotent conversationalist and the motivating communicator is the ability to persuade people to participate in win-win relationships.
We educated that an individual’s (desired) state of mind is a very important thing to consider in the persuasion process. We said when you determine this, you can persuade the person by showing him or her how to get there.
We differentiated between negotiation and persuasion. We said though negotiation and persuasion are almost the same, they are semantically different as negotiation involves reaching an agreement on price or on the specific terms of an agreement; while persuasion, on the other hand, is the art of getting people to go along with your points of view, to see everything your own way. We added that you need negotiation skills to be a good persuader and you need persuasion skills to be a good negotiator.
We said the good news is that there are many strategies you can adopt to achieve effective persuasion. We stressed that one of these is to establish your credibility. We emphasised that another strategy is to make a wise choice. That is, if you make a wrong choice in the course of your persuasion by focusing on things that are extremely unrealistic or technically impossible, you may run the risk of not being able to successfully persuade your audience.
We said you also need to be specific to achieve effective persuasion, e.g. “I want you to increase production from ten thousand to twenty thousand pieces” not “I want you to improve production significantly”.
We added that you need to also explain why because most people want to know the “why” behind the “what”.
We said to support your proposal, for instance, you need to gather as much relevant data as you can. We said the fact that you have done your homework gives you a clear advantage over those who demand or plead in the name of being persuasive.
Doing people favour first
Doing people honest favour beforehand also helps to persuade them easily. According to the reciprocity principle, people feel obligated to give back when a favour has been done for them. Robert Cialdini, in his text “Influence” says even people we do not like have a better chance of getting us to do what they want merely by doing us a small favour beforehand. However, this principle has negative implications when applied for wrong purposes, e.g., if money is distributed to people to persuade them to vote in an election.
Concentrating on audience’s issues
Another thing is to concentrate on issues important to your audience. Consider, also, what these people emphasise when they seek to persuade. If, for example, they stress facts and figures, strive to do the same. If they focus on how people or productivity, deadlines, etc., will be affected, deploy your key points accordingly. The more your own case matches what matters to your audience, the better your chances of winning them over.
Never expect an immediate positive response
Do not expect an immediate positive response in your persuasion or to proposal. It is easy to persuade a friend to change an appointment. Karten says but making a pitch for something big, such as the adoption of agile methods, is unlikely to get an immediate response. Getting buy-in for something that entails a major change usually takes patience and persistence. You allow the idea to be scrutinised, and you can show how other organisations have benefited from it.
Today, attention has shifted from aggressive marketing to assertive marketing. If your customer or prospect notices some deficiency in your product or service, for instance, and draws your attention to it, you listen to him or her and promise to correct it (assertive marketing) instead of dismissing his or her opinion as being untrue or baseless and advancing unnecessary defence. If you get turned down, accept the decision and make necessary amends.
To be successful at persuading others, we need to learn and apply the strategies of effective persuasion. If we master principles of effective persuasion, our business, marital life, career, etc., will be enhanced.
PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
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