The Art of Persuasion: Get the Edge You Need to Reach Your Goals When was the last

time that you had to persuade someone? Regardless of your indu stry or profession, chances are you regularly have to persuade others to adopt y our ideas. Whether you’re persuading a client to buy your product, your boss to give you a raise, your co-worker to give you a piece of that key project, or eve n your kids to clean their room, you often need others to see things your way. A nd while research shows that most people believe they can’t be sold, the fact is that those same people can indeed be persuaded if they don’t recognize that a “ sales” technique is being used. That’s why smart professionals today are using t he art of persuasion, rather than sales, to get others to see things their way. Realize that persuasion does not involve tricks, gimmicks, lying, or anything un ethical. When you use persuasion techniques, you are merely of modern psychologi cal research to make your message more credible and believable. For persuasion t o truly work, whatever message you’re conveying must be based in truth and deliv ered with the right intentions. After all, you’re persuading someone to your poi nt of view, not conning someone to do or think something questionable. With that said, following are the persuasion principles that will give you an edge so oth ers adopt your ideas with ease. 1. Aim at a narrow target. When attempting to get someone to adopt their ideas, many people do a data dump on their listener. They give every possible fact, figure, and feature in hopes t hat some of the information will stick and persuade the other party. However, if you want to be effective at persuasion, then you need to keep your focus during the conversation as narrow as possible. So rather than talk about everything po ssible that might persuade the other person, find out what’s important to your l istener and then persuade on those points only. The best way to uncover what’s i mportant to the other person is to ask. That’s right…simply ask, “What’s importa nt to you about… [Insert whatever topic you’re addressing].” Then listen to what your listener says and speak only to those points. If asking such a direct ques tion doesn’t seem appropriate for your situation, you can couch your question wi thin a statement, such as, “I was talking with someone the other day about [inse rt your topic], and they told me that _______ was the most important thing to th em about [insert your topic]. That wouldn’t be important to you too, would it?” Seminars across the US in 2009 ©copyright 2008 Paul Endress All rights reserved. Reprint with appropriate credi t to author. 1-800-788-2068

The result is that your statement could sound like: “I was talking with someone the other day about buying a car, and they told me that gas mileage was the most important thing they considered when purchasing a vehicle. That wouldn’t be imp ortant to you too, would it?” Allow the person to answer and give you the inform ation you need. Then you can gauge how to direct your conversation based on thei r response. 2. Use stories to convey your message. Stories are an extremely effective way to persuade. However, many people are too obvious with their stories, and as a result it sounds like a sales spiel. The b est way to use stories as a persuasion tool is to simply tell your listener abou t something that is similar to your concept. For example, suppose you want to co nvey the idea that your product will give the person peace of mind. First, deter mine what that idea is like…what is similar to having peace of mind? You may dec ide that “relaxation” is similar to the concept of peace of mind. If so, what co njures up images of relaxation to you? To this you might reply that a day at the beach equates to relaxation. If so, then tell a story about a day at the beach. Their unconscious mind will draw the necessary connections and do your persuasi on for you. Here’s another example: Let’s say you’re trying to motivate you staf f to try something new and you want to convey the idea of being open to discover new ideas. What is that idea like? What is similar to discovering new ideas? Fo r many, it’s similar to being surprised. So then, what else elicits a surprise? How about opening a present? Tell a story about that. The point is to pinpoint w hat you want to convey, decide what that idea is like, determine what else is li ke that main idea, and then tell a story about the similar concept, idea, or thi ng. This indirect approach works wonders and keeps people from feeling like they are being sold. 3. Use a second or third party quote. Sometimes you may have to tell people bad news in order to get them to see thing s your way. If you don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, you could use a seco nd or third party quote to tell the news for you. For example, you could tell a client, “I was talking with Joe Smith the other day and he said that ABC Company has trouble making deliveries on time.” Another example would be to say “My fat her used to always tell me ___________”, and then tell them what you want to tel l them. Who could argue with your father? The only caveat is that you cannot use this technique to say something that is not true. The goal is to deliver truthf ul news or make a point in a way that doesn’t reflect poorly on you or make you appear as though you’re selling. Seminars across the US in 2009 ©copyright 2008 Paul Endress All rights reserved. Reprint with appropriate credi t to author. 1-800-788-2068

4. Use pacing and leading to prove your point. Pacing and leading is based upon the proven idea that if the brain can verify tw o things as true, it will accept the third fact as being true also. So, if you t ell someone, “My name is Mary Jones and I’m with Acme Corporation,” the listener ’s mind can quickly verify those two facts as true. Then whatever you say next, such as, “We have the lowest prices on your office supply needs,” rings true to the listener as well. Again, you cannot use this technique to say something fals e. Whatever your third piece of information is, it must be a reasonable fact. A Slight Edge Yields Huge Rewards None of these persuasion techniques are magic or “smoke and mirrors.” They are d esigned to give you a slight edge in your dealings with others, and a slight edg e can make all of the difference in the world. After all, in the Olympics, the d ifference between those who win the gold and those who win the silver is often j ust a few hundredths of a second or a fraction of a point. A slight edge goes a long way. So arm yourself with these persuasion tools and make them a part of yo ur everyday conversations with others. When you do, you’ll find that others are more apt to adopt your ideas, resulting in more winning solutions for everyone i nvolved. Seminars across the US in 2009 ©copyright 2008 Paul Endress All rights reserved. Reprint with appropriate credi t to author. 1-800-788-2068

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I get my best stories from people such as you, so when y ou drop me an email at with a story about one of y our communication challenges or successes that I can share with future audiences , I’ll send you a link to my exclusive private on-line library of communication tools. I’ll also select a few for a personal reply with specific suggestions to help you with your challenges. I invite you to join me at an “Effective Communic ation for Today’s Competitive Workplace” seminar during 2009. Visit the web site listed below for special pricing and bonuses worth thousands of dollars! And re member that your greatest challenges contain the seeds of your greatest successe s. Life is an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved. Enjoy the journ ey! ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Endress is a nationally recognized authority in the appli cation of psychology to business in the areas of communication, leadership, team building, and workplace synergy. Paul is the creator of The Everything Principl e™ and is founder and president of Maximum Advantage, a consulting firm dedicate d to helping businesses seize the demographic and cultural challenges of today’s competitive and diverse workplace; and empowers them to turn these challenges i nto a positive force that takes great companies onward and upward to outstanding and beyond. During his extensive business career, Paul has established nine com panies of his own and his commentaries and expert strategies on communication, h iring, and retention have appeared on the front page of USA TODAY, in the New Yo rk Times, Entrepreneur and Forbes, and hundreds of trade publications. His lates t ventures include the successful “Effective Communication” workshops held acros s the U.S. where he helps participants solve their greatest communication challe nges. More information on these workshops and Paul can be found at and He may be contac ted at 800-788-2068 or Seminars across the US in 2009 ©copyright 2008 Paul Endress All rights reserved. Reprint with appropriate credi t to author. 1-800-788-2068

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful