The art of effective persuasion
- Getting the Right Introduction
It is extremely difficult to convince a stranger of something. For instance, salespeople hate cold calling because they never know the type of person they’re dealing with on the other end. They don’t know their values, preferences, or whether they belong to a group that is opposed to what/how they are selling. Just as importantly, the person called doesn’t know, and trust, the salesperson.
If you can get an introduction from a mutual friend or acquaintance, you have a much better chance of persuading someone to adopt your point of view. If you can’t get an introduction, it helps to prepare yourself for anything before you attempt persuasion. This is where excellent listening and communication skills enter the picture.
- The Value of Listening
When you listen first, you gather the information you need to compose a personalized pitch that will make sense to the person you’re trying to persuade. Savvy political candidates don’t just show up at your door and start lecturing you. Instead, they typically ask some questions about your views to find a starting point for their persuasion. Pretty neat strategy, right?
In addition to the information you gain from listening, you create the impression that you value the other person and respect their beliefs. In turn, they’re more likely to form a favorable opinion of you and listen to what you have to say.
- Being Agreeable When You Don’t Agree
It’s important to express agreement with the person you’re trying to persuade as often as possible. This indicates that you respect them and are open-minded. Everyone wants to be thought of as intelligent, so if you refute everything someone says, they’re likely to dismiss you. Of course, you can’t agree with anyone on everything, nor do you have to. If you did, you wouldn’t be able to convince your audience to change their position. What you can do, however, is have an agreeable attitude that acknowledges the reasoning behind what they believe and the choices they’ve made.
- Subtlety Is Crucial
If you can say exactly what you want someone to believe and they immediately believe it, there isn’t much of a need for persuasion. More commonly, you need to show them in subtle ways why your viewpoint is correct. There are many different persuasion techniques to use, but the most effective are those that aren’t blatant or obvious. Instead, they’re built on drawing comparisons, storytelling, and recognizing the other person and where they stand.
- Persuasion and Morals
The art of persuasion requires patience and commitment to the process. If it were a matter of simply saying “Believe me!” there wouldn’t be much persuasion involved. In order to change someone’s mind, you need to take the time to develop your arguments and explain your rationale, subtly and consistently. If it’s a simple message, it might not take long to deliver. But if you want to communicate something more complex, you need to be patient with your audience and keep them engaged.
- Whose Conclusion Matters?
When you draw your argument to a close, you may present your conclusion as the obviously correct one. However, people are more easily persuaded if they believe they’re coming to their own conclusion on a subject. They want to believe that it’s their idea to change their viewpoints, beliefs, or actions. The good news is, if you’ve presented your argument in a way that makes sense to your audience, they’ll likely assume that their change in thinking was their own decision. Thus, they’ll be more likely to continue to hold onto that opinion and, more importantly, act on it.
- Ethical Concerns
There are a few ethical dilemmas to consider if you decide you’re going to practice the art of persuasion. Many people have used persuasion techniques maliciously to harm or take advantage of others. Before you try to convince someone to agree with you, think about what the impact on them will be if you succeed.
Undue influence is a legal term that means you persuade someone to act contrary to their own free will or without attention to the consequences. This becomes an issue when someone is incapacitated in some way and unable to make their own decisions. For example, a caregiver might convince an older adult to change their will and leave everything to them. If you’re considering practicing the art of persuasion, it’s a moral imperative to avoid undue influence. It will also keep you out of legal trouble.
- Falsifying Evidence
Whether you’re in court or making a post on social media, it’s wrong to present falsified statements, documents, or images to prove your point. If you want to be responsible and considerate in your practice of persuasion, you need to make sure that the evidence or supporting information you’re presenting is, to the best of your knowledge, accurate and legitimate.
- Perpetuating Scams
People who use their fluency of persuasion to scam others typically don’t care whether what they’re doing is hurting others. Often, the people they end up convincing then attempt to convince others of the same thing without understanding that they’ve been conned. To avoid perpetuating the scams of others, it’s important to get your facts straight and always stay alert to the possibility of deception.
- So Is Persuasion Good or Bad?
Like any other form of art, persuasion is neither positive nor negative in and of itself. It is how you use the art of persuasion, and for what purpose, that determines whether you’re contributing something worthwhile to the world.
The inability to persuade others can be a great handicap in life. You might have trouble getting a job, buying a home, or taking the next step in your relationship. On the other hand, you may find that you’re too easily convinced and fall for every scam presented to you. If so, there are several ways to decrease your susceptibility to falling for every slick come-on. A therapist can help you build your self-esteem, improve your social skills, and even learn to manage your depression. These factors will make you less vulnerable to deception.
- Seeking Guidance
You can talk to a licensed counselor at Better Help to get the help you need. Online therapy is affordable, convenient, private, and can help you uncover your hidden strengths. Whether you need to learn to be more persuasive or to scrutinize the persuasion tactics of others, therapy can have a major impact. You can learn about both sides of the art of persuasion well enough to both get what you want more easily and protect yourself. You deserve to be happy-let us help. Below are some reviews of Better Help counselors from people who became healthier and more skilled through treatment.
- Counselor Reviews
“In the short span of 9 months, Shonnie has become like one of my best friends. At first, I was skeptical of doing therapy since I’m very “psychologically healthy”. A few challenges in my personal life led me to try therapy for a month. Now I consider it an important part of my growth as a businessman and leader within my community. Thank you Shonnie for being so helpful during the recent difficulties; I am very lucky to have found you!”
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