Be the most persuasive person

By Jeff Haden via   Article

Be the Most Persuasive Person in the Room: 9 Things Highly Influential People Always Do, According to Science

“Every successful person I know is extremely good at persuading other people. Not manipulating or pressuring, but genuinely persuading: Describing the logic and benefits of an idea to gain agreement.

When you think of it that way, everyone needs to harness the power of persuasion: to convince other people your idea makes sense, to show investors or stakeholders how a project, or product, or business will generate a return, to help your employees understand why they should embrace a new process.

Having the ability to persuade is critical in every career. That’s why successful people are extremely good at persuading others.

So how can you become more persuasive — in a genuine and authentic way?

1. Always share positives and negatives.

According to University of Illinois professor Daniel O’Keefe, sharing one or two opposing viewpoints is more persuasive than sticking solely to the benefits of your position.

Why? No idea is perfect, and your audience knows that. They know there are other perspectives and other potential outcomes. Address that fact. Talk about the things your audience is already considering. Discuss potential negatives, and show how you will minimize or overcome those problems.

The people you hope to convince are more likely to be persuaded when they know you understand that they might have misgivings. Talk about the other side of the argument — and then do your best to show why you’re still right.

2. Always draw positive conclusions.

Which of the following two statements is likely to produce a better result:

  • ‘You need to stop making so many mistakes,’ or
  • ‘I would like you to work on improving your accuracy’?

And which of these two?

  • ‘You need to stop criticizing people,’ or
  • ‘I would like you to work on finding ways to praise your employees more’?

While it’s tempting to use scare tactics, positive-outcome statements tend to be more persuasive. (Researchers hypothesize that most people respond negatively to feeling bullied or ‘guilted’ into changing a behavior.)

If you’re trying to create change, focus on the positives of that change. Take the person you hope to persuade to a better place instead of somewhere he or she should avoid.”


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