The ability to persuade is a valuable skill. It translates into making a huge sale, convincing people to follow your leadership, getting customers to pay bills on time, and assisting in passing legislation that’s important to you.
There are many methods used to persuade: charisma, manipulation, force. But for long-term results, sincerity and understanding where your audience is coming from will provide greater opportunities for you to persuade people to your point of view. Here are some tips for helping you get what you want, and it all starts with doing some research.
What will the other person gain? Know your audience. What are they trying to achieve, find some common interests you can start with. According to Jephtha Tausig-Edwards, researchers have found people are more willing to agree to something if you frame it in a way that highlights what they will receive. It shouldn’t be a heads-I-win, tails-you-lose negotiation; everyone should walk away feeling they have profited in some way.
Be upfront with your request. Researchers found that a request is more likely to be granted if it is voiced at the beginning of a conversation as opposed to the end. Lead with the request as opposed to saving it for the very end when someone might feel you have not been honest, and they have time constraints.
Use the right words. Language matters when it comes to making a request. When someone says no or, “I’m not interested”, follow up by asking, “Would you consider ABC” or “Would you be willing to try XYZ?”
Focus on the issue, not personality. Tausig-Edwards says, “If you’re talking about someone’s willingness to do or try something, you’re now focusing on their character as a person, as opposed to their preferences.”
Remind the person they can always say no. When you preface a request this way, the chances for a positive answer dramatically increase. It reminds them they are in control of their choice. Refrain from using high-pressure tactics. The person may agree with you just to get rid of you. You will have lost the opportunity for further discussion.
Persuasion is a skill that can be honed and improved over time. You won’t succeed every time, but with practice, comes success.